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Poverty related and neglected infectious diseases

The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), a group of parasitic, bacterial, and viral infectious diseases, along with AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria are collectively referred to as ‘infectious diseases of poverty’. NTDs affect the most poor and vulnerable populations in the world. Importantly these infections are co-endemic and an individual may be infected with more than one pathogen.  In IBCN we study in particular schistosomiasis and tuberculosis.

Schistosomiasis, one of the 17 NTDs prioritized by WHO, contributes to the global morbidity with 4,026,000 DALYs (disability-adjusted life years), more than 780 million people are at risk and about 260 million infections occur annually. Among human parasitic diseases, schistosomiasis ranks second behind malaria in socio-economic terms, public health importance and prevalence in the developing world.

Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection, still represents a serious threat to human health, causing approximately 1.5 million deaths worldwide per year. Moreover MTB multi-drug resistance is dramatically increasing. The main research activities include:

  • maintainance of the life cycle of Schistosoma mansoni with the intermediate host (Biomphalaria glabrata) and the definitive host (mouse), isolation and culture of all parasite life stages;
  • study of the parasite biology;
  • identification and characterization of novel anti-schistosomal compounds;
  • mechanisms of innate immunity-pathogen interplay, in particular of MTB and other pathogens that survive after the engulfment by professional phagocytes (Staphylococcus aureus);
  • identification and characterization of genes modulated during MTB and other intracellular pathogen infections (S. aureus);
  • identification and characterization natural and chemical immune-modulator compounds for the establishment of a host’s protective interaction between macrophages and pathogens.
  • Personnel involved

  • Selected Publications

Basso Annalisa

Cappelli Giulia

Cioli Donato

Mariani Francesca

Mattoccia Livia Pica 

Ruberti Giovina

Giovannini Daniela

Guidi Alessandra (assegno di ricerca)

Lalli C, Guidi A, Gennari N, Altamura S, Bresciani A, Ruberti G.
Development and validation of a luminescence-based, medium-throughput assay for drug screening in Schistosoma mansoni. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015 Jan 30;9(1):e0003484. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003484. eCollection 2015 Jan.

Taylor AB, Pica-Mattoccia L, Polcaro CM, Donati E, Cao X, Basso A, Guidi A, Rugel AR, Holloway SP, Anderson TJ, Hart PJ, Cioli D, LoVerde PT. Structural and Functional Characterization of the Enantiomers of the Antischistosomal Drug Oxamniquine.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015 Oct 20;9(10):e0004132. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004132. eCollection 2015.

Cioli D, Pica-Mattoccia L, Basso A, Guidi A.
Schistosomiasis control: praziquantel forever?
Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2014 Jun;195(1):23-9. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2014.06.002. Epub 2014 Jun 21. Review.

Valentim CL, Cioli D, Chevalier FD, Cao X, Taylor AB, Holloway SP, Pica-Mattoccia L, Guidi A, Basso A, Tsai IJ, Berriman M, Carvalho-Queiroz C, Almeida M, Aguilar H, Frantz DE, Hart PJ, LoVerde PT, Anderson TJ.
Genetic and molecular basis of drug resistance and species-specific drug action in schistosome parasites.
Science. 2013 Dec 13;342(6164):1385-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1243106. Epub 2013 Nov 21.

Losi M, Knights AJ, Mariani F, Altieri AM, Paone G, Loxton AG, Chegou NN, Kenneth J, Alma MG, Colizzi V, Walzl G, Saltini C, Boyle J, Amicosante M.
TB QuantiFERON performance enhanced by novel Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific antigens.
Eur Respir J. 2016 Feb;47(2):660-4. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01015-2015. Epub 2015 Nov 19.

Giovannini D, Cappelli G, Jiang L, Castilletti C, Colone A, Serafino A, Wannenes F, Giacò L, Quintiliani G, Fraziano M, Nepravishta R, Colizzi V, Mariani F.
A new Mycobacterium tuberculosis smooth colony reduces growth inside human macrophages and represses PDIM Operon gene expression. Does an heterogeneous population exist in intracellular mycobacteria?
Microb Pathog. 2012 Sep;53(3-4):135-46. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2012.06.002. Epub 2012 Jul 4.

Delogu G, Sali M, Rocca S, Quintiliani G, Santucci MB, Greco E, Cabibbo A, Mariani F, Colizzi V, Fadda G, Fraziano M.
Lysophosphatidic acid enhances antimycobacterial response during in vivo primary Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.
Cell Immunol. 2011;271(1):1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2011.05.014. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Sanarico N, Colone A, Grassi M, Speranza V, Giovannini D, Ciaramella A, Colizzi V, Mariani F.
Different transcriptional profiles of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells infected with distinct strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin.
Clin Dev Immunol. 2011; 2011:741051. doi: 10.1155/2011/741051. Epub 2011 Mar 22.

Speranza V, Colone A, Cicconi R, Palmieri G, Giovannini D, Grassi M, Mattei M, Sali M, Delogu G, Andreola F, Colizzi V, Mariani F.
Recombinant BCG-Rv1767 amount determines, in vivo, antigen-specific T cells location, frequency, and protective outcome.
Microb Pathog. 2010 May;48(5):150-9. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2010.02.003. Epub 2010 Feb 26.