ISSN Print 2713-2757    ISSN Online 2713-2765
Extreme Medicine

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Phage therapy is a promising method of treating antibiotic-resistant infections. To obtain a safe therapeutic formulation, bacterial cell components, including endotoxins, must be removed from the phage lysate. This study was aimed at comparing the efficacy of purification methods for phage lysates intended for therapeutic use. Phages vB_KpnM_Seu621 (Myoviridae) and vB_KpnP_Dlv622 (Autographiviridae) were grown using the KP9068 strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae as a host. The obtained lysates were purified using phage precipitation with polyethylene glycol, CsCl density gradient ultracentrifugation, sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation, precipitation with 100 kDa centrifugal filter units, and phage concentration on 0.22 µm cellulose filters in the presence of MgSO4. Endotoxin concentrations were determined by LAL testing. The obtained lysates contained 1.25 × 1012 ± 7.46 × 1010 and 2.25 × 1012 ± 1.34 × 1011 PFU/ml of vB_KpnM_Seu621 and vB_KpnP_Dlv622, respectively, and had endotoxin concentrations of 3,806,056 ± 429,410 and 189,456 ± 12,406 EU/ml, respectively. CsCl gradient ultracentrifugation was found to be the optimal conventional purification method in terms of reducing endotoxin concentrations and maintaining phage titers (303 ± 20 — 313 ± 35 EU/ml, 1.5–2.75 × 1012 ± 1.71 × 1011 PFU/ml). Sucrose gradient ultracentrifugation and filtration in the presence of MgSO4 were found to be the optimal non-traditional purification methods. A method for phage lysate purification should be selected for each phage preparation individually. Sucrose gradient ultracentrifugation and filtration in the presence of MgSO4 hold promise as purification methods that can produce phage preparations suitable for intravenous administration.
DNA methylation is the most common epigenetic modification, caused by ionizing radiation. There may be both hypermethylation, which suppresses transcription of gene promoter regions, and hypomethylation, resulting in gene activation. Both mechanisms may be involved in carcinogenesis. The study was aimed to assess methylation status of CpG islands in the protective system BCL-2, CDKN1A and ATM gene promoters in the peripheral blood cells of the chronically exposed individuals, living in the villages, located along the Techa River, over a long-term period. Methylation of BCL-2, CDKN1A and ATM gene promoter regions in 68 residents of the villages, located along the Techa River (Chelyabinsk region), was assessed by the real-time methylation-specific PCR. The group of exposed individuals included 54 people with accumulated dose to red bone marrow within the range of 0.09–3.51 Gy. The comparison group included 14 people, living in similar economic and social environment, with the dose to red bone marrow, accumulated during the whole life, not exceeding 70 mGy. The pilot study of exposed individuals over a long period of time after chronic low-dose radiation exposure revealed no significant changes in methylation levels of CpG islands in the CDKN1A, BCL-2, ATM gene promoter regions compared to the comparison group. None were revealed in the dose subgroups “87–994 mGy” and “over 1000 mGy”.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa — is one of the pathogens characterized by the critical number of multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains. Phage therapy is considered an alternative to antibiotics, especially in treatment of infections caused by MDR strains. The aim of this study was to isolate and characterize P. aeruginosa phages that could potentially be suitable for treating infectious diseases. To isolate the P. aeruginosa phages, enrichment cultures were used. The lytic activity spectrum was confirmed by spot testing on 40 P. aeruginosa strains. Whole-genome sequencing was performed using Illumina MiSeq instrument. Phylogenetic analysis was done using VICTOR tool. Isolated phages vB_PaeA-55-1w and vB_PaeM-198 from Autographiviridae and Myoviridae families, respectively, had a broad spectrum of lytic activity (about 50% each), including lysis of MDR strains. The genomes vB_PaeA-55-1w and vB_PaeM-198 comprise double-stranded DNA of 42.5 and 66.3 kbp in length, respectively. Open reading frames were annotated for both phages (52 for vB_PaeA-55-1w, and 95 for vB_PaeM-198), no integrases and toxins were detected. On a phylogenetic tree, vB_PaeA-55-1w phage was clustered with phages from the Phikmvvirus genus (Autographiviridae family), which are also used in phage therapy. vB_PaeM-198 phage was clustered with phages from the Pbunavirus genus (Myoviridae family). vB_PaeA-55-1w and vB_PaeM-198 phages could be considered as candidates for phage therapy and may be used to treat infections caused by MDR P. aeruginosa.

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The development of coronavirus infection outbreak into a pandemic, coupled with the lack of effective COVID-19 therapies, is a challenge for the entire pharmaceutical industry. This study aimed to assess the treatment and preventive efficacy of the amino acid-peptide complex (APC) in male Syrian hamsters infected with SARSCoV-2 (intranasal administration of 26 μl of the virus culture, titer of 4 × 104 TCD50/ml). In a modeled COVID-19 case, APC administered for treatment and preventive purposes reduced lung damage. Compared to the positive control group, test group had the lung weight factor 15.2% smaller (trend), which indicates a less pronounced edema. Microscopic examination revealed no alveolar edema, atypical hypertrophied forms of type II alveolocytes, pulmonary parenchyma fibrinization. The macrophage reaction intensified, which is probably a result of the APC-induced activation of regenerative processes in the lung tissues. Spleens of the animals that received APC for therapeutic and preventive purposes were less engorged and had fewer hemorrhages. The decrease of body weight of the test animals that received APC for treatment and prevention was insignificant (p < 0.05), which indicates a less severe course of COVID-19. Administered following a purely therapeutic protocol, APC proved ineffective against SARS-CoV-2 post-infection. Thus, APC-based drug used as a therapeutic and preventive agent reduces pulmonary edema and makes morphological signs of lung tissue damage less pronounced in male Syrian hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2.