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New biomarkers for stage determination in Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense sleeping sickness patients

DOI: 10.1186/2001-1326-2-1

Keywords: Sleeping sickness, Biomarkers, Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, Cerebrospinal fluid, Stage determination

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A population comprising 85 T. b. rhodesiense patients, 14 stage 1 (S1) and 71 stage 2 (S2) enrolled in Malawi and Uganda, was investigated. The CSF levels of IgM, MMP-9, CXCL13, CXCL10, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, neopterin and B2MG were measured and their staging performances evaluated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses.IgM, MMP-9 and CXCL13 were the most accurate markers for stage determination (partial AUC 88%, 86% and 85%, respectively). The combination in panels of three molecules comprising CXCL13-CXCL10-MMP-9 or CXCL13-CXCL10-IgM significantly increased their staging ability to partial AUC 94% (p value < 0.01).The present study highlighted new potential markers for stage determination of T. b. rhodesiense patients. Further investigations are needed to better evaluate these molecules, alone or in panels, as alternatives to WBC to make reliable choice of treatment.Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), commonly known as sleeping sickness, is a neglected tropical disease caused by the Trypanosoma brucei parasite and transmitted to humans through the bite of the tsetse fly [1]. Two morphologically identical subspecies of parasites are responsible for the disease: Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense[2]. In both cases, the disease progresses from a haemolymphatic first stage (S1), to a meningo-encephalitic second stage (S2). The latter reflects invasion of the central nervous system (CNS) by the parasites across the blood–brain barrier (BBB) with severe neurological complications, which can ultimately lead to coma and death, when untreated [3]. The two forms of HAT differ in their clinical presentations and geographic distribution. The gambiense form is widespread in Central and Western Africa and is commonly considered to be a chronic infection, which slowly progresses from the first to the second stage. The rhodesiense form of sleeping sickness, that affects communities in Eastern Africa, is a more aggressive illness, which rapidly progresses


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