Volume 97, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Microbial translocation is a poorly understood consequence of several disorders such as environmental enteropathy (EE) and hepatosplenic schistosomiasis (HSS). Herein, we compared biomarkers of microbial origin and immune activation in adults with these disorders and in healthy controls. A cross-sectional study was conducted in participants with EE recruited from Misisi compound, Lusaka, Zambia; HSS patients and healthy controls from the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka. Plasma lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) was measured by limulus amoebocyte lysate assay, plasma 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) gene copy number was quantified by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, Toll-like receptor ligand (TLRL) activity by QUANTI-Blue detection medium, and cytokines from cell culture supernatant by Cytometric Bead Array. In univariate analysis LPS, 16S rRNA gene copy number, and TLR activity were all high and correlated with each other and with cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-10, and IL-4 secreted by the RAW-Blue cells. After controlling for baseline characteristic, biomarkers of microbial translocation in blood were predictors of TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10 activation in cell culture supernatant from EE participants and HSS patients but not in healthy controls. TLR activity showed the strongest correlation with TNF-α. These data provide correlative evidence that microbial translocation contributes to systemic cytokine activation in two disorders common in the tropics, with total TLR ligand estimation showing the strongest correlation with TNF-α ( = 0.66, < 0.001).

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 08 May 2017
  • Accepted : 12 Jun 2017
  • Published online : 28 Aug 2017

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