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A qPCR to quantify Wolbachia from few Onchocerca volvulus microfilariae as a surrogate for adult worm histology in clinical trials of antiwolbachial drugs

Abstract : Abstract The filarial nematode Onchocerca volvulus causes onchocerciasis (river blindness), a neglected tropical disease affecting 21 million people, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Targeting the endosymbiont Wolbachia with antibiotics leads to permanent sterilization and killing of adult worms. The gold standard to assess Wolbachia depletion is the histological examination of adult worms in nodules beginning at 6 months post-treatment. However, nodules can only be used once, limiting the time points to monitor Wolbachia depletion. A diagnostic to longitudinally monitor Wolbachia depletion from microfilariae (MF) at more frequent intervals < 6 months post-treatment would accelerate clinical trials of antiwolbachials. We developed a TaqMan qPCR amplifying the single-copy gene w Ov ftsZ to quantify Wolbachia from as few as one MF that had migrated from skin biopsies and compared quantification using circular and linearized plasmids or synthetic dsDNA (gBlock®). qPCR for MF from the rodent nematode Litomosoides sigmodontis was used to support the reproducibility and validate the principle. The qPCR using as few as 2 MF from O. volvulus and L. sigmodontis reproducibly quantified Wolbachia . Use of a linearized plasmid standard or synthesized dsDNA resulted in numbers of Wolbachia /MF congruent with biologically plausible estimates in O. volvulus and L. sigmodontis MF. The qPCR assay yielded a median of 48.8 (range 1.5–280.5) Wolbachia / O. volvulus MF. The qPCR is a sensitive tool for quantifying Wolbachia in a few MF from skin biopsies and allows for establishing the qPCR as a surrogate parameter for monitoring Wolbachia depletion in adult worms of new antiwolbachial candidates.
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https://hal-cnrs.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03813246
Contributor : Frederic Landmann Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 11:17:42 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 4:16:14 AM

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Stefan Schlabe, Patricia Korir, Christine Lämmer, Frederic Landmann, Bettina Dubben, et al.. A qPCR to quantify Wolbachia from few Onchocerca volvulus microfilariae as a surrogate for adult worm histology in clinical trials of antiwolbachial drugs. Parasitology Research, 2022, 121 (4), pp.1199-1206. ⟨10.1007/s00436-021-07411-5⟩. ⟨hal-03813246⟩

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