Although the estimates are misinformed, it is estimated that ther

Although the estimates are misinformed, it is estimated that there are more than 15 million people around the world with rheumatic heart disease (RHD), the most severe sequel of RF. An estimated 300,000 new cases of RHD occur each year, and over 200,000 deaths caused by RHD each year [1]. The Brazilian public health system spent over 90 million U.S. dollars for treatment of RF and RHD patients. Furthermore, 31% of all cardiac surgeries in children are related to RF, which is also responsible learn more for 7.5% mortality per year. Finally, it is estimated that

Brazil has over 10 million cases of throat infections caused by Streptococci that lead to 30,000 new cases of RF each year [2]. The M protein is the major virulence factor of GAS. The M protein involves bacterial adhesion, evasion, and promotes immune responses to GAS because of its immunogenicity [3]. It is composed of N and C-terminal portions; the N-terminal region is hypervariable and highly immunogenic whereas the C-terminal region BKM120 is highly conserved among the most GAS strains. The mechanisms leading to RF and RHD involve a cross-reaction between the N-terminal region of the alpha-helical coiled-coil M protein and self-proteins, mainly cardiac proteins. Accordingly, the

homology between the M protein and human proteins myosin, tropomyosin, keratin [4] and fibrillar collagen, the major component of heart valves [5], could be involved with the autoimmune response by the molecular mimicry mechanism [6], [7], [8], [9], [10] and [11]. In other words, the production of cross-reactive antibodies raised against GAS could be specifically within cardiac tissue, which would lead to an increased expression of the adhesion molecule VCAM-I [12] that facilitate the lymphocytic infiltration MTMR9 through the

valve surface endothelium. This mechanism appears to be the initiating step for tissue damage and disease pathogenesis [12]. Both streptococcal primed CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes are recruited probably under specific chemokine. This scenario might promote enhanced infiltration of mononuclear cells to the lesion and the production of inflammatory cytokines, such as IFN-γ and TNF-α, resulting in further tissue destruction and necrosis [12], [13] and [14]. The triggering of an autoimmune response involves antigenic presentation by macrophages via human leukocyte antigen-II (HLA-II) molecules to the T cell receptor. These molecules are genetically controlled and some alleles have already been described as being associated with the development of RF/RHD. Briefly, DR2 and DR4 were found in association with individuals in America; DR4, in Saudi Arabia; DR1 and DR6, in South Africa; DR7 and DR11, in Turkey; and DR7 and DR53, in Brazil. It is interesting to note that a DR7 defined molecular approach was also found in Latvians and Egyptians, and this was associated with the worsening of the valve damage [15].

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