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Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 3

Microbes and Chronic Disease

Vertical Transmission

I would like to take this opportunity to once again congratulate the Adelaide LOC and Scientific Committee on the success of the Society’s recent annual meeting. We have received excellent informal feedback from delegates on both the scientific program as well as the organisation of the meeting itself. Particular thanks go to Chris Ossowicz as Chair of the LOC and Phil Giffard as Scientific Chair for their tireless efforts in bringing this successful meeting together. The smooth running of the conference owes much to the expert guidance of our ...

Microbes and chronic disease

This edition of Microbiology Australia is addressing the issue of microbes and chronic disease. Many of the microbes dealt with in this edition are viruses, partly due to interest, but also due to the nature of viral infection, which is of a host cell parasite, often of limited genomic means. Viruses only replicate by infecting cells, and the essence of viral infection of the cell is manipulation of the cellular processes, presumably in order to increase viral replication and allow viral persistence for the duration of infection. Even vi...

Epstein–Barr virus-associated malignancies: pathobiology and emerging therapeutic options

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Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) was first identified in malignant Burkitt lymphoma cells in 1964. Since then, EBV has been associated with a number of other malignancies of either lymphocytic origin, including both B cell and NK/T cell cancers, or epithelial origin, predominantly nasopharyngeal and gastric cancers. While a complete understanding of the relationship between EBV-mediated cellular transformation and the oncogenic events that lead to uncontrolled malignant cell growth remains to be determined for a number of these cancers, it is clear in ...

Sneezing leads to wheezing: microorganisms important in asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways. Microorganisms are the main cause of asthma exacerbations, with many cases of wheeze in children aged less than 1 year linked to asthma later in life. Respiratory viruses, particularly human rhinovirus, cause up to 90% of asthma exacerbations in children. In this review, we examine some of the viral, bacterial and fungal causes of asthma development and exacerbations.

Chronic viral hepatitis and hepatitis B virus infection: stop the cancer

Chronic viral hepatitis is a worldwide public health concern with 350 million people chronically infected with hepatitis B and 170 million with chronic hepatitis C. A substantial proportion of those infected have progressive liver disease, which can result in liver cancer, currently the world’s fifth most common cancer. Australia has experienced an increase in viral hepatitis with liver cancer becoming our fastest increasing cause of cancer mortality. Global and local strategies are in place to reduce this burden of disease.

Measles and SSPE: occurrence and pathogenesis

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Measles is an acute febrile exanthematous condition that is usually a self-limiting disease, but it can be associated with several complications, one of which is subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE). It is a rare delayed complication of measles due to persistence of the virus in the central nervous system. All of the genetic analyses of viral material derived from brain tissue of SSPE patients have revealed sequences of wild-type measles virus (MV). There is no evidence that measles vaccine can cause SSPE. Several mutations have been desc...

Is cytomegalovirus infection causative for coronary heart disease?

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Numerous studies have reported an association of coronary heart disease (CHD) with certain persistent bacterial and viral infections, including cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. Analysis of data from clinical, epidemiological and in vitro and animal experiments suggests association between CMV infection and the development of CHD, but a clear causative role is yet to be proven. Further well-designed studies are required to clarify the role of CMV infection in the pathogenesis of CHD.

Subversion of immunity by schistosomes – RETRACTED

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Chronic parasitic disease affects millions of people worldwide with an overwhelming burden on children. Helminth infections frequently cause chronic disease that may range from asymptomatic to debilitating. Schistosoma mansoni is a blood fluke that resides in the mesenterial veins of the host, causes chronic disease and has evolved to evade and exploit the immune system. This article discusses the state of our understanding of the complex regulation and control of immune responses induced by schistosomes.

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Fatigue after infection: aetiology and pathophysiology

During acute infection, a stereotyped set of physiological and behavioural responses, result in manifestations such as fever, musculo-skeletal pain and anorexia, as well as fatigue. These constitutional symptoms, including fatigue, typically resolve in parallel with the fever. However, in a minority off subjects a disabling fatigue state may persist for weeks, months or longer. This enigmatic post-infective fatigue state continues to defy pathophysiological researchers. A popular, but fruitless, avenue of investigation has been the search eithe...

Do pathogens contribute to multiple sclerosis aetiology?

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common neurological disease characterised by sclerotic plaques of dead and dying oligodendrocytes and neurons in the central nervous system. Infectious agents may cause or contribute to this cell death, but none have yet been established as doing so. Now the recent dramatic advances in identifying the genetic risk factors for MS have provided some tantalising leads to microbe involvement. If conclusive evidence is found, vaccines, antivirals/antibiotics or pathogens themselves may prove useful therapeutics.

Peptic ulcer disease: current notions

Helicobacter pylori infection and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the major aetiological factors in peptic ulcer disease (PUD). A range of H. pylori virulence factors have been linked with both increased levels of inflammation and PUD. Recently, increasing reports of H. pylori-negative PUD has led some to question the role of H. pylori in PUD; however, research would suggest that H. pylori-negative PUDs are mainly due to NSAIDs usage and false negative results in diagnostic methods.

Commensal gut microbiota, genetic and epigenetic factors and susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease

The incidence of inflammatory bowel disease, an often debilitating disorder, is increasing. Recent data indicate that complex interactions between the commensal gut microbiota, genetic and epigenetic factors and mucosal immunity are important in pathogenesis. Ongoing studies into these interactions will continue to advance understanding of processes responsible for the development of inflammatory bowel disease, as well as inform new and more effective approaches to management.

Enterovirus infection, β-cell apoptosis and type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) results from a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors, leading to chronic immune mediated destruction of pancreatic β-cells. The inflammatory process is initiated by one or more environmental triggers, such as a viral infection, stimulating release of autoantigens, inflammatory mediators including cytokines and chemokines, and death effectors, with resultant β-cell loss. While multiple enterovirus (EV) serotypes demonstrate β-cell tropism, most studies support a role for the coxsackievir...

Cytomegalovirus and ageing of the immune system: a controversial cause of ageing

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a double-stranded DNA virus of the Herpesviridae family that infects 30–90% of the population in developed countries and persists throughout life in a latent form. Reactivation of latent HCMV infection is a significant health issue during pregnancy and in immunocompromised and immunosuppressed individuals. Recent studies suggest that HCMV infection may also have clinical importance in healthy individuals by affecting ageing of the immune system. These recent findings and the current controversy are discussed here...

Report from ASM 2013: A Tour of Microbes

Volume 34 Number 3

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