Modelling Cryptosporidium infection in human small intestinal and lung organoids
Stem-cell-derived organoids recapitulate in vivo physiology of their original tissues, representing valuable systems to model medical disorders such as infectious diseases. Cryptosporidium, a protozoan parasite, is a leading cause of diarrhoea and a major cause of child mortality worldwide. Drug development requires detailed knowledge of the pathophysiology of Cryptosporidium, but experimental approaches have been hindered by the lack of an optimal in vitro culture system. Here, we show that Cryptosporidium can infect epithelial organoids derived from human small intestine and lung. The parasite propagates within the organoids and completes its complex life cycle. Temporal analysis of the Cryptosporidium transcriptome during organoid infection reveals dynamic regulation of transcripts related to its life cycle. Our study presents organoids as a physiologically relevant in vitro model system to study Cryptosporidium infection.
A tick-acquired red meat allergy: A case series
Allergic reaction is a common clinical picture in the Emergency Department (ED). Most allergic reactions are from food or drugs. A detailed history is an integral aspect of determining the causative agent of an allergy. Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal) allergy is a tick-acquired red meat allergy that causes delayed-onset allergic reaction or anaphylaxis due to molecular mimicry. Alpha-gal allergy may not be widely known as a cause of allergic reactions. Lack of universal awareness of this phenomenon in the ED and Urgent Care setting could lead to misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis. Subsequently, lack of proper instruction to avoid red meat could put patients at risk for future attacks with morbidity or mortality. We report three cases of allergic reaction presumed from red meat consumption secondary to alpha-gal allergy.
Advances in bumped kinase inhibitors for human and animal therapy for cryptosporidiosis
Improvements have been made to the safety and efficacy of bumped kinase inhibitors, and they are advancing toward human and animal use for treatment of cryptosporidiosis. As the understanding of bumped kinase inhibitor pharmacodynamics for cryptosporidiosis therapy has increased, it has become clear that better compounds for efficacy do not necessarily require substantial systemic exposure. We now have a bumped kinase inhibitor with reduced systemic exposure, acceptable safety parameters, and efficacy in both the mouse and newborn calf models of cryptosporidiosis. Potential cardiotoxicity is the limiting safety parameter to monitor for this bumped kinase inhibitor. This compound is a promising pre-clinical lead for cryptosporidiosis therapy in animals and humans.
5-Aminopyrazole-4-Carboxamide-Based Compounds Prevent the Growth of Cryptosporidium parvum
Cryptosporidium parvum calcium-dependent protein kinase 1 (CpCDPK1) is a promising target for drug development against cryptosporidiosis. We report a series of low-nanomolar CpCDPK1 5-aminopyrazole-4-carboxamide (AC) scaffold inhibitors that also potently inhibit C. parvum growth in vitro Correlation between anti-CpCDPK1 and C. parvum growth inhibition, as previously reported for pyrazolopyrimidines, was not apparent. Nonetheless, lead AC compounds exhibited a substantial reduction of parasite burden in the neonatal mouse cryptosporidiosis model when dosed at 25 mg/kg.
Necessity of Bumped Kinase Inhibitor Gastrointestinal Exposure in Treating Cryptosporidium Infection
There is a substantial need for novel therapeutics to combat the widespread impact caused by Crytosporidium infection. However, there is a lack of knowledge as to which drug pharmacokinetic (PK) characteristics are key to generate an in vivo response, specifically whether systemic drug exposure is crucial for in vivo efficacy. To identify which PK properties are correlated with in vivo efficacy, we generated physiologically based PK models to simulate systemic and gastrointestinal drug concentrations for a series of bumped kinase inhibitors (BKIs) that have nearly identical in vitro potency against Cryptosporidium but display divergent PK properties. When BKI concentrations were used to predict in vivo efficacy with a neonatal model of Cryptosporidium infection, these concentrations in the large intestine were the sole predictors of the observed in vivo efficacy. The significance of large intestinal BKI exposure for predicting in vivo efficacy was further supported with an adult mouse model of Cryptosporidium infection. This study suggests that drug exposure in the large intestine is essential for generating a superior in vivo response, and that physiologically based PK models can assist in the prioritization of leading preclinical drug candidates for in vivo testing.
Bumped-Kinase Inhibitors for Cryptosporidiosis Therapy
Bumped kinase inhibitors (BKIs) of Cryptosporidium parvum calcium-dependent protein kinase 1 (CpCDPK1) are leading candidates for treatment of cryptosporidiosis-associated diarrhea. Potential cardiotoxicity related to anti-human ether-Ã -go-go potassium channel (hERG) activity of the first-generation anti-Cryptosporidium BKIs triggered further testing for efficacy. A luminescence assay adapted for high-throughput screening was used to measure inhibitory activities of BKIs against C. parvum in vitro. Furthermore, neonatal and interferon Î³ knockout mouse models of C. parvum infection identified BKIs with in vivo activity. Additional iterative experiments for optimum dosing and selecting BKIs with minimum levels of hERG activity and frequencies of other safety liabilities included those that investigated mammalian cell cytotoxicity, C. parvum proliferation inhibition in vitro, anti-human Src inhibition, hERG activity, in vivo pharmacokinetic data, and efficacy in other mouse models. Findings of this study suggest that fecal concentrations greater than parasite inhibitory concentrations correlate best with effective therapy in the mouse model of cryptosporidiosis, but a more refined model for efficacy is needed.
Novel Bumped Kinase Inhibitors Are Safe and Effective Therapeutics in the Calf Clinical Model for Cryptosporidiosis
Cryptosporidiosis, caused by the apicomplexan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum, is a diarrheal disease that has produced a large global burden in mortality and morbidity in humans and livestock. There are currently no consistently effective parasite-specific pharmaceuticals available for this disease. Bumped kinase inhibitors (BKIs) specific for parasite calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) have been shown to reduce infection in several parasites having medical and veterinary importance, including Toxoplasma gondii, Plasmodium falciparum, and C. parvum In the present study, BKIs were screened for efficacy against C. parvum infection in the neonatal mouse model. Three BKIs were then selected for safety and clinical efficacy evaluation in the calf model for cryptosporidiosis. Significant BKI treatment effects were observed for virtually all clinical and parasitological scoring parameters, including diarrhea severity, oocyst shedding, and overall health. These results provide proof of concept for BKIs as therapeutic drug leads in an animal model for human cryptosporidiosis.
Cathelicidin-like helminth defence molecules (HDMs): absence of cytotoxic, anti-microbial and anti-protozoan activities imply a specific adaptation to immune modulation
Host defence peptides (HDPs) are expressed throughout the animal and plant kingdoms. They have multifunctional roles in the defence against infectious agents of mammals, possessing both bactericidal and immune-modulatory activities. We have identified a novel family of molecules secreted by helminth parasites (helminth defence molecules; HDMs) that exhibit similar structural and biochemical characteristics to the HDPs. Here, we have analyzed the functional activities of four HDMs derived from Schistosoma mansoni and Fasciola hepatica and compared them to human, mouse, bovine and sheep HDPs. Unlike the mammalian HDPs the helminth-derived HDMs show no antimicrobial activity and are non-cytotoxic to mammalian cells (macrophages and red blood cells). However, both the mammalian- and helminth-derived peptides suppress the activation of macrophages by microbial stimuli and alter the response of B cells to cytokine stimulation. Therefore, we hypothesise that HDMs represent a novel family of HDPs that evolved to regulate the immune responses of their mammalian hosts by retaining potent immune modulatory properties without causing deleterious cytotoxic effects.
Antibody fusions reduce onset of experimental Cryptosporidium parvum infection in calves
Cryptosporidium parvum is one of the main causes of diarrhea in neonatal calves resulting in significant morbidity and economic losses for producers worldwide. We have previously demonstrated efficacy of a new class of antimicrobial antibody fusions in a neonatal mouse model for C. parvum infection. Here, we extend efficacy testing of these products to experimental infection in calves, the principal target species. Neonatal calves were challenged with C. parvum oocysts and concomitantly treated with antibody-biocide fusion 4H9-G1-LL37 over the course of four days. This resulted in reduced severity of the disease when compared to control animals. Overall clinical health parameters showed significant improvement in treated animals. Oocyst shedding was reduced in treated when compared to control animals. Control of oocyst shedding is a prerequisite for breaking the cycle of re-infection on dairy farms. Antibody-biocide fusion products thus have the potential to reduce the impact of the infection in both individual animals and in the herd.
Phospholipases and cationic peptides inhibit Cryptosporidium parvum sporozoite infectivity by parasiticidal and non-parasiticidal mechanisms
The apicomplexan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum is an important cause of diarrhea in humans and cattle, and it can persistently infect immunocompromised hosts. No consistently effective parasite-specific pharmaceuticals or immunotherapies for control of cryptosporidiosis are presently available. The innate immune system represents the first line of host defense against a range of infectious agents, including parasitic protozoa. Several types of antimicrobial peptides and proteins, collectively referred to herein as biocides, constitute a major effector component of this system. In the present study, we evaluated lactoferrin, lactoferrin hydrolysate, 5 cationic peptides (lactoferricin B, cathelicidin LL37, indolicidin, Î²-defensin 1, Î²-defensin 2), lysozyme, and 2 phospholipases (phospholipase A2, and phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C) for anti-cryptosporidial activity. The biocides were evaluated either alone or in combination with 3E2, a monoclonal antibody (MAb) against C. parvum that inhibits sporozoite attachment and invasion. Sporozoite viability and infectivity were used as indices of anti-cryptosporidial activity in vitro. All biocides except lactoferrin had a significant effect on sporozoite viability and infectivity. Lactoferrin hydrolysate and each of the 5 cationic peptides were highly parasiticidal and strongly reduced sporozoite infectivity. While each phospholipase also had parasiticidal activity, it was significantly less than that of lactoferrin hydrolysate and each of the cationic peptides. However, each phospholipase reduced sporozoite infectivity comparably to that observed with lactoferrin hydrolysate and the cationic peptides. Moreover, when 3 of the cationic peptides (cathelicidin LL37, Î²-defensin 1, and Î²-defensin 2) were individually combined with MAb 3E2, a significantly greater reduction of sporozoite infectivity was observed over that by 3E2 alone. In contrast, reduction of sporozoite infectivity by a combination of either phospholipase with MAb 3E2 was no greater than that by 3E2 alone. These collective observations suggest that cationic peptides and phospholipases neutralize C. parvum by mechanisms that are predominantly either parasiticidal or non-parasiticidal, respectively.