Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, ISSN - 0973 - 709X

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Thanking you
With sincere regards
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Ghritlaharey, M.S., M. Ch., FAIS
Associate Professor,
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Kamla Nehru & Hamidia Hospitals Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462 001 (India)
On May 11,2011

Dr. Shankar P.R.

"On looking back through my Gmail archives after being requested by the journal to write a short editorial about my experiences of publishing with the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR), I came across an e-mail from Dr. Hemant Jain, Editor, in March 2007, which introduced the new electronic journal. The main features of the journal which were outlined in the e-mail were extensive author support, cash rewards, the peer review process, and other salient features of the journal.
Over a span of over four years, we (I and my colleagues) have published around 25 articles in the journal. In this editorial, I plan to briefly discuss my experiences of publishing with JCDR and the strengths of the journal and to finally address the areas for improvement.
My experiences of publishing with JCDR: Overall, my experiences of publishing withJCDR have been positive. The best point about the journal is that it responds to queries from the author. This may seem to be simple and not too much to ask for, but unfortunately, many journals in the subcontinent and from many developing countries do not respond or they respond with a long delay to the queries from the authors 1. The reasons could be many, including lack of optimal secretarial and other support. Another problem with many journals is the slowness of the review process. Editorial processing and peer review can take anywhere between a year to two years with some journals. Also, some journals do not keep the contributors informed about the progress of the review process. Due to the long review process, the articles can lose their relevance and topicality. A major benefit with JCDR is the timeliness and promptness of its response. In Dr Jain's e-mail which was sent to me in 2007, before the introduction of the Pre-publishing system, he had stated that he had received my submission and that he would get back to me within seven days and he did!
Most of the manuscripts are published within 3 to 4 months of their submission if they are found to be suitable after the review process. JCDR is published bimonthly and the accepted articles were usually published in the next issue. Recently, due to the increased volume of the submissions, the review process has become slower and it ?? Section can take from 4 to 6 months for the articles to be reviewed. The journal has an extensive author support system and it has recently introduced a paid expedited review process. The journal also mentions the average time for processing the manuscript under different submission systems - regular submission and expedited review.
Strengths of the journal: The journal has an online first facility in which the accepted manuscripts may be published on the website before being included in a regular issue of the journal. This cuts down the time between their acceptance and the publication. The journal is indexed in many databases, though not in PubMed. The editorial board should now take steps to index the journal in PubMed. The journal has a system of notifying readers through e-mail when a new issue is released. Also, the articles are available in both the HTML and the PDF formats. I especially like the new and colorful page format of the journal. Also, the access statistics of the articles are available. The prepublication and the manuscript tracking system are also helpful for the authors.
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Overall, the publishing process with JCDR has been smooth, quick and relatively hassle free and I can recommend other authors to consider the journal as an outlet for their work."

Dr. P. Ravi Shankar
KIST Medical College, P.O. Box 14142, Kathmandu, Nepal.
On April 2011

Important Notice

Original article / research
Year : 2007 | Month : August | Volume : 1 | Issue : 4 | Page : 243 - 247

The Role of NK and NKT Cells in Patients with Acute Brucellosis


*Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Firat University, Elazig, Turkey. **Department of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Firat University, Elazig, Turkey.

Correspondence Address :
Dr. Handan Akbulut. Department of Immunology, Firat Medical Center, 23119, Elazig, Turkey. Tel.:+90.424.2333555 ext 2168; fax: +90.424.2388096;


Background: The major role of T cells in Brucella immunity is secretion of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) for activation of bactericidal function in macrophages. Natural killer T (NKT) cells are new subtype of T cells and produce IFN-γ very quickly and promptly when they are stimulated. Therefore, NKT cells can play an effective role in immunity of brucellosis.
Aim: It was aimed to evaluate whether natural killer (NK) and NKT cells have an effect on brucellosis immunity and whether there is any difference for these cell percentage between pre- and post-treatment period.
Methods and Material: The study included a total of 40 acute brucellosis cases and 20 healthy subjects. Two-colour flow cytometric analysis was performed on a FACScan flow cytometer, using monoclonal antibodies CD45/CD14, isotype control and CD3/CD16+56.
Results: No statistical significant difference was observed between patient and control groups for NKT cell counts and NK cell percentages. There were no differences between before and after treatment period in terms of NK and NKT cells ratio.
Conclusion: According to our result, acute brucellosis has no effect on increasing of NK and NKT cells. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study about NKT cells ratio in patients with acute brucellosis.


Brucellosis, NK cell, CD1-restricted cell, NKT cell

Brucellosis is one of the most common bacterial zoonoses in the world, caused by organisms belonging to the genus Brucella, facultative, intracellular bacteria, which causes infections both in animals and humans (1). The response against Brucella species involves the whole part of the immune system, from innate to adaptive immunity resulting from stimulation of antigen-presenting cells, NK cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and B cells (2),(3). The major role of T cells in Brucella immunity is secretion of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) for activation of bactericidal function in macrophages (1). Moreover, NK cells have been shown to be important for control of infections of intracellular bacterial and protozoan parasites, and this role has been shown specifically to relate to their ability to produce IFN-γ (4),(5). A role for NK cells and cytotoxicity in protective immunity to brucellosis has not been substantiated experimentally (6). NKT cells are new subtype of T cells, and they produce IFN-γ very quickly and promptly when they stimulated. Therefore, NKT cells can play an effective role on immunity of brucellosis (7).

Material and Methods

Local ethics committee of Firat University has approved this study, and a written informed consent was obtained from each subject. A total of 45 patients admitted to Firat Medical Center, a tertiary referral University hospital located in East Anatolia, were examined. The presenting signs and symptoms were fever, musculoskeletal system complaints such as generalised aches and pains associated with fatigue, prostration and mental depression. Clinical and laboratory findings revealed acute brucellosis. All patients were started the appropriate treatment. However, five patients were excluded from the study because of non-response to the treatment. The study included 40 acute brucellosis cases (18 males and 22 females; between 17 and 80 years of age, mean ± SE, 37.08 ± 8.76 years).

Brucellosis was diagnosed based on clinical, serologic, bacteriologic and epidemiologic data. The diagnostic criteria were isolation of a Brucella species from blood culture (Bactec 9050, Becton-Dickinson Diagnostic Instrument System, Sparks, USA) or a single Brucella titre of ≥1/160 [by standard tube agglutination (STA) test or Coombs], confirmed by a 2-mercaptoethanol test (2-ME) titre of ≥1/160 in association with compatible clinical findings.

By using BACTEC blood culture system, Brucella bacteria were cultured and identified. Brucella species were isolated from the blood cultures in 22 cases (55%). The biotyping of the bacteria was performed by H2S production, urease positivity and dye sensitivity test (20–40 µg/ml basic fuchsine and growth in thionine). All the Brucella species were identified as B. melitensis. Disease activity was defined by the presence of typical signs and symptoms. The patient’s data were recorded to the previously prepared forms.

The control group was composed of 20 healthy subjects (nine male and 11 female subjects), ages ranging between 15 and 90 years (mean ± SE, 39.35 ± 7.53 years). No statistical significant difference was observed between groups’ ages. The cases in the control group were STA negative, showed ESR within normal limits and did not have any complaints. Exclusion criteria for the healthy control subjects included acute/chronic diseases, smoking, medication, pregnancy and any abnormalities in renal and liver function tests.

Blood samples were drawn from all patients and healthy subjects for studying NK and NKT cells. Two millilitre venous blood samples were obtained, and sera were separated in both study and control groups. T cells, NK and NKT cells [CD3+, and CD(16+56)+] were established from blood with EDTA. After isolation of the peripheral mononuclear cells, the direct immunofluorescence method was applied. Two-colour flow cytometric analysis was performed on a FACScan flow cytometer (Becton Dickinson, San Jose, CA), using Becton Dickinson monoclonal antibodies CD45/CD14, isotype control, and CD3/CD16+56, according to the instructions of manufacturer. Cells were fixed with 1% paraformaldehyde and analysed by flow cytometry, after counting 10,000 total events using Cell Quest software (Becton Dickinson). This lymphocyte subpopulation is expressed as percentages of the total number of lymphocytes. The quality criteria involved the frequency above 95% of total lymphocytes in the analysis gate, homogenous CD45+ lymphocyte population (minimum of 2000 events in the gate, CD45 > 95%).

Treatment for brucellosis was started as soon as the diagnoses was established and involved the combination of doxycycline plus rifampin for 45 days. After treatment, same parameters studied prior to start of antibiotics were measured again in all patients. Response criteria to the treatment were improvements of clinical findings with 2-ME tests ≤1/80 after the treatment. Non-responder patients had ongoing complaints such as fever, myalgia and other constitutional symptoms, with 2-ME test measuring ≥1/160 after the treatment.

Comparisons between the different groups were performed by Mann–W1/80 after the treatment. Non-responder patients had ongoing complaints such as fever, myalgia and other constitutional symptoms, with 2-ME test measuring


The most common complaints of the patients were fever (85%) and sweating (72.5%), arthralgia (65%) and malaise (65%) ((Table/Fig 1)). The median of Brucella STA and 2-ME test levels were 1/320 for both, in patients. Mean white blood cell counts of patients were 6.800 ± 2.600, erythrocyte sedimentation rate was 37.75 ± 29.7, and C-reactive protein was 33.53 ± 27.23 ((Table/Fig 2)).

NK and NKT cells have a particular importance in initiating and regulating the immune response. Here, we evaluated the role of NK and NKT cells in patients with brucellosis during the early phase of infection and their difference in appearance before and after treatment period.

There was no significant correlation between NK and NKT cells ratio and laboratory findings of patients. There were no differences between before and after treatment period in terms of total lymphocytes and NK and NKT cells ratio. CD3+ cells counts were higher at pre-treatment period than post-treatment’s levels (p < 0.001).

These cell counts at both pre- and post-treatment period were higher than in healthy subjects (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05, respectively). No statistically significant difference was observed between patients and controls for NKT cell counts and NK cell percentage. The cell counts and statistical differences are shown in (Table/Fig 3).


Facultative intracellular bacteria, including Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium leprae, Brucella abortus and Salmonella spp., survive within normal resident macrophages and other non-professional phagocytes. IFN-γ-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes play an important role in recovery from infection by these organisms (8),(9). In intracellular bacteria infection such as listeriosis, brucellosis or intracellular protozoan parasitic infections like toxoplasmosis and leishmaniosis, NK cells are known to be crucial for early control of infection (4),(5). This mechanism is related to production of IFN-γ (4). Similar effect can be found with the other IFN-γ-producing cells such as NKT cells. NK cells are part of the first line of defence against pathogens and following activation can kill infected targets. However, removal of NK cells in vivo did not alter the ability of mice to contend with B. abortus infection (2).

The literature shows that the immune responses are sufficient to control Brucella infection, even in the absence of functional NK cell responses (3). In this study, we did not observe significant difference for NK cell counts between patients and healthy subjects. Our findings related to NK cells in patients with brucellosis supported the results of the previously published articles (2),(3). Salmeron et al. (10) have found that PBMC from patients with acute brucellar infection showed a significantly depressed NK cell activity, but they have suggested that this depressed activity was not related to a deficient number of NK cells, since the numbers of CD 56+ and CD16+ cells present in PBMC were similar in patients and controls. They concluded that acute brucellar infection is associated with a deficient cytotoxic activity of NK cells. Dornand et al. (11), on the contrary, show that NK cells are activated by B. suis-infected macrophages and that they inhibit the intracellular multiplication of the bacteria by lysing the infected cells, thus suggesting that NK cells could be one actor of the control of Brucella development in humans.

The NKT cell is a CD3+ T cell, having one or more markers of the NK cell lineage. This cell type resides predominantly in the liver and responds solely to antigen presentation mediated by class I-like CD1-specific T cells (12),(13). The NKT cell is especially well poised to perform a detrimental role in that it seems predisposed to IL-4 production (14). On the other hand, it also appears capable of IFN-γ production, when stimulated by IL-12 from liver perisinusoidal macrophages (Kupffer cells) (15). The NKT cell induces IL-12 production from antigen-presenting macrophages.

Immune response to brucellosis can be affected by NKT cells, because these cells produce the two most critical cytokines (IL-4 and IFN-γ) (16). NKT cells responding in a Th1-like manner may upregulate NK cell activity. There are reports that the cell type may also function as a cytolytic cell (17),(18). These modes of antigen presentation appears critical in the immune response to intracellular bacteria (19). However, in listeriosis, NKT cells appear to have a detrimental effect, while in tuberculosis, these cells have no effect on the immune response (20),(21).

In our study, this result shows that CD4+ CD3+ T helper cells and CD8+ CD3+ cytotoxic T cells increase in brucellar infections. The higher


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Seki S, Habu Y, Kawamura T, Takeda K,

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