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  • Ouwerkerk, Janneke P.; van der Ark, Kees C. H.; Davids, Mark; Claassens, Nico J.; Finestra, Teresa Robert; de Vos, Willem M.; Belzer, Clara (2016)
    Akkermansia muciniphila colonizes the mucus layer of the gastrointestinal tract, where the organism can be exposed to the oxygen that diffuses from epithelial cells. To understand how A. muciniphila is able to survive and grow at this oxic-anoxic interface, its oxygen tolerance and response and reduction capacities were studied. A. muciniphila was found to be oxygen tolerant. On top of this, under aerated conditions, A. muciniphila showed significant oxygen reduction capacities and its growth rate and yield were increased compared to those seen under strict anaerobic conditions. Transcriptome analysis revealed an initial oxygen stress response upon exposure to oxygen. Thereafter, genes related to respiration were expressed, including those coding for the cytochrome bd complex, which can function as a terminal oxidase. The functionality of A. muciniphila cytochrome bd genes was proven by successfully complementing cytochrome-deficient Escherichia coli strain ECOM4. We conclude that A. muciniphila can use oxygen when it is present at nanomolar concentrations. IMPORTANCE This article explains how Akkermansia muciniphila, previously described as a strictly anaerobic bacterium, is able to tolerate and even benefit from low levels of oxygen. Interestingly, we measured growth enhancement of A. muciniphila and changes in metabolism as a result of the oxygen exposure. In this article, we discuss similarities and differences of this oxygen-responsive mechanism with respect to those of other intestinal anaerobic isolates. Taken together, we think that these are valuable data that indicate how anaerobic intestinal colonizing bacteria can exploit low levels of oxygen present in the mucus layer and that our results have direct relevance for applicability, as addition of low oxygen concentrations could benefit the in vitro growth of certain anaerobic organisms.
  • Lääveri, Tinja; Vilkman, Katri; Pakkanen, Sari; Kirveskari, Juha; Kantele, Anu (2018)
    Background: Among visitors to the (sub)tropics, 20-50% contract travellers' diarrhoea (TD) and 5-30% take antibiotics. While shortening the duration of illness, antimicrobials predispose to acquisition of multi-drug resistant bacteria. Therefore, liberal use is no longer advocated. Although antibiotics kill pathogens, no data support the view that they could prevent post-infectious sequelae. We investigated how antibiotic use for TD abroad impacts the pathogen findings at return. Materials and methods: We revisited 456 travellers' clinical data and stool pathogens examined by qPCR for Salmonella, Yersinia, Campylobacter, Shigella, Vibrio cholerae and enteroaggregative (EAEC), enteropathogenic (EPEC), enterotoxigenic (ETEC), enterohaemorrhagic (EHEC) and enteroinvasive (EIEC) Escherichia coli. Results: Among travellers with TD, antibiotic users had pathogen-positive samples less frequently than non-users (50% versus 83%). The difference was significant for EPEC (23% versus 47%) and EAEC (27% versus 54%), but not ETEC (17% versus 26%) or the other pathogens. Shigella/EIEC was found more often among antibiotic users than non-users (4% versus 1%). Conclusion: Despite antibiotic treatment of TD, half of the users still had stool pathogens at return, reflecting either antibiotic resistance of pathogens or recolonisation/reinfection while abroad. Treatment of TD with antibiotics during travel should not be interpreted to indicate eradication of pathogens.
  • Douillard, Francois; de Vos, Willem M. (2014)
  • Ringel-Kulka, Tamar; Cheng, Jing; Ringel, Yehuda; Salojarvi, Jarkko; Carroll, Ian; Palva, Airi; de Vos, Willem M.; Satokari, Reetta (2013)
  • van den Nieuwboer, Maurits; van Hemert, Saskia; Claassen, Eric; de Vos, Willem M. (2016)
    Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 is one of the best studied Lactobacilli, notably as its genome was unravelled over 12years ago. L.plantarum WCFS1 can be grown to high densities, is amenable to genetic transformation and highly robust with a relatively high survival rate during the gastrointestinal passage. In this review, we present and discuss the main insights provided by the functional genomics research on L.plantarum WCFS1 with specific attention for the molecular mechanisms related to its interaction with the human host and its potential to modify the immune system, and induce other health-related benefits. Whereas most insight has been gained in mouse and other model studies, onlyfive human studies have been reported with L.plantarum WCFS1. Hence NCIMB 8826 (the parental strain of L.plantarum WCFS1) in human trials as to capitalize on the wealth of knowledge that is summarized here.
  • Mero, Sointu; Kirveskari, Juha; Antikainen, Jenni; Ursing, Johan; Rombo, Lars; Kofoed, Poul-Erik; Kantele, Anu (2017)
    Background: In developing countries, diarrhoea is the most common cause of death for children under five years of age, with Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium and Entamoeba histolytica as the most frequent pathogenic parasites. Traditional microscopy for stool parasites has poor sensitivity and specificity, while new molecular methods may provide more accurate diagnostics. In poor regions with sample storage hampered by uncertain electricity supply, research would benefit from a method capable of analysing dried stools. Methods: A real-time multiplex PCR method with internal inhibition control was developed for detecting Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium hominis/parvum and Entamoeba histolytica directly from stool specimens. Applicability to dried samples was checked by comparing with fresh ones in a small test material. Finally, the assay was applied to dried specimens collected from Guinea-Bissauan children with diarrhoea. Results: The PCR's analytical sensitivity limit was 0.1 ng/ml for G. lamblia DNA, 0.01 ng/ml for E. histolytica DNA and 0.1 ng/ml for Cryptosporidium sp. In the test material, the assay performed similarly with fresh and dried stools. Of the 52 Guinea-Bissauan samples, local microscopy revealed a parasite in 15%, while PCR detected 62% positive for at least one parasite: 44% of the dried samples had Giardia, 23% Cryptosporidium and 0% E. histolytica. Conclusions: Our new multiplex real-time PCR for protozoa presents a sensitive method applicable to dried samples. As proof of concept, it worked well on stools collected from Guinea-Bissauan children with diarrhoea. It provides an epidemiological tool for analysing dried specimens from regions poor in resources.
  • Lääveri, T.; Antikainen, J.; Pakkanen, S. H.; Kirveskari, J.; Kantele, Anu (2016)
    Travellers' diarrhoea (TD) remains the most frequent health problem encountered by visitors to the (sub) tropics. Traditional stool culture identifies the pathogen in only 15% of cases. Exploiting PCR-based methods, we investigated TD pathogens with a focus on asymptomatic travellers and severity of symptoms. Pre- and post-travel stools of 382 travellers with no history of antibiotic use during travel were analysed with a multiplex quantitative PCR for Salmonella, Yersinia, Campylobacter, Shigella, Vibrio cholerae and five diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli: enteroaggregative (EAEC), enteropathogenic (EPEC), enterotoxigenic (ETEC), enterohaemorrhagic (EHEC) and enteroinvasive (EIEC). The participants were categorized by presence/absence of TD during travel and on return, and by severity of symptoms. A pathogen was indentified in 61% of the asymptomatic travellers, 83% of those with resolved TD, and 83% of those with ongoing TD; 25%, 43% and 53% had multiple pathogens, respectively. EPEC, EAEC, ETEC and Campylobacter associated especially with ongoing TD symptoms. EAEC and EPEC proved more common than ETEC. To conclude, modern methodology challenges our perception of stool pathogens: all pathogens were common both in asymptomatic and symptomatic travellers. TD has a multibacterial nature, but diarrhoeal symptoms mostly associate with EAEC, EPEC, ETEC and Campylobacter. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.