All Publications

  • Antimicrobial peptides and the gut microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease. World journal of gastroenterology Gubatan, J., Holman, D. R., Puntasecca, C. J., Polevoi, D., Rubin, S. J., Rogalla, S. 2021; 27 (43): 7402-7422


    Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are highly diverse and dynamic molecules that are expressed by specific intestinal epithelial cells, Paneth cells, as well as immune cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They play critical roles in maintaining tolerance to gut microbiota and protecting against enteric infections. Given that disruptions in tolerance to commensal microbiota and loss of barrier function play major roles in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and converge on the function of AMP, the significance of AMP as potential biomarkers and novel therapeutic targets in IBD have been increasingly recognized in recent years. In this frontier article, we discuss the function and mechanisms of AMP in the GI tract, examine the interaction of AMP with the gut microbiome, explore the role of AMP in the pathogenesis of IBD, and review translational applications of AMP in patients with IBD.

    View details for DOI 10.3748/wjg.v27.i43.7402

    View details for PubMedID 34887639

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8613745

  • DENGUE AND CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS EXPOSURE AMONG URBAN POPULATIONS IN WESTERN AND COASTAL KENYA Migliore, E., Mutuku, F. M., Ndenga, B. A., Agola, G., Sagina, J., Jembe, Z., Ng'ang'a, C., Godana, O., Kalva, P., Puntasecca, C. J., Sharma, A., Kang, A. S., LaBeaud, A. AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE. 2021: 46
  • Measuring the global burden of chikungunya and Zika viruses: A systematic review. PLoS neglected tropical diseases Puntasecca, C. J., King, C. H., LaBeaud, A. D. 2021; 15 (3): e0009055


    Throughout the last decade, chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) infections have spread globally, causing a spectrum of disease that ranges from self-limited febrile illness to permanent severe disability, congenital anomalies, and early death. Nevertheless, estimates of their aggregate health impact are absent from the literature and are currently omitted from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) reports. We systematically reviewed published literature and surveillance records to evaluate the global burden caused by CHIKV and ZIKV between 2010 and 2019, to calculate estimates of their disability-adjusted life year (DALY) impact. Extracted data on acute, chronic, and perinatal outcomes were used to create annualized DALY estimates, following techniques outlined in the GBD framework. This study is registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020192502). Of 7,877 studies identified, 916 were screened in detail, and 21 were selected for inclusion. Available data indicate that CHIKV and ZIKV caused the average yearly loss of over 106,000 and 44,000 DALYs, respectively, between 2010 and 2019. Both viruses caused substantially more burden in the Americas than in any other World Health Organization (WHO) region. This unequal distribution is likely due to a combination of limited active surveillance reporting in other regions and the lack of immunity that left the previously unexposed populations of the Americas susceptible to severe outbreaks during the last decade. Long-term rheumatic sequelae provided the largest DALY component for CHIKV, whereas congenital Zika syndrome (CZS) contributed most significantly for ZIKV. Acute symptoms and early mortality accounted for relatively less of the overall burden. Suboptimal reporting and inconsistent diagnostics limit precision when determining arbovirus incidence and frequency of complications. Despite these limitations, it is clear from our assessment that CHIKV and ZIKV represent a significant cause of morbidity that is not included in current disease burden reports. These results suggest that transmission-blocking strategies, including vector control and vaccine development, remain crucial priorities in reducing global disease burden through prevention of potentially devastating arboviral outbreaks.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009055

    View details for PubMedID 33661908

  • Impact of COVID-19 on presentation, management, and outcomes of acute care surgery for gallbladder disease and acute appendicitis. World journal of gastrointestinal surgery Farber, O. N., Gomez, G. I., Titan, A. L., Fisher, A. T., Puntasecca, C. J., Arana, V. T., Kempinsky, A., Wise, C. E., Bessoff, K. E., Hawn, M. T., Korndorffer, J. R., Forrester, J. D., Esquivel, M. M. 2021; 13 (8): 859-870


    The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly disrupted both elective and acute medical care. Data from the early months suggest that acute care patient populations deferred presenting to the emergency department (ED), portending more severe disease at the time of presentation. Additionally, care for this patient population trended towards initial non-operative management.To examine the presentation, management, and outcomes of patients who developed gallbladder disease or appendicitis during the pandemic.A retrospective chart review of patients diagnosed with acute cholecystitis, symptomatic cholelithiasis, or appendicitis in two EDs affiliated with a single tertiary academic medical center in Northern California between March and June, 2020 and in the same months of 2019. Patients were selected through a research repository using international classification of diseases (ICD)-9 and ICD-10 codes. Across both years, 313 patients were identified with either type of gallbladder disease, while 361 patients were identified with acute appendicitis. The primary outcome was overall incidence of disease. Secondary outcomes included presentation, management, complications, and 30-d re-presentation rates. Relationships between different variables were explored using Pearson's r correlation coefficient. Variables were compared using the Welch's t-Test, Chi-squared tests, and Fisher's exact test as appropriate.Patients with gallbladder disease and appendicitis both had more severe presentations in 2020. With respect to gallbladder disease, more patients in the COVID-19 cohort presented with acute cholecystitis compared to the control cohort [50% (80) vs 35% (53); P = 0.01]. Patients also presented with more severe cholecystitis in 2020 as indicated by higher mean Tokyo Criteria Scores [mean (SD) 1.39 (0.56) vs 1.16 (0.44); P = 0.02]. With respect to appendicitis, more patients were diagnosed with a perforated appendix at presentation in 2020 [20% (36) vs 16% (29); P = 0.02] and a greater percentage were classified as emergent cases using the emergency severity index [63% (112) vs 13% (23); P < 0.001]. While a greater percentage of patients were admitted to the hospital for gallbladder disease in 2020 [65% (104) vs 50% (76); P = 0.02], no significant differences were observed in hospital admissions for patients with appendicitis. No significant differences were observed in length of hospital stay or operative rate for either group. However, for patients with appendicitis, 30-d re-presentation rates were significantly higher in 2020 [13% (23) vs 4% (8); P = 0.01].During the COVID-19 pandemic, patients presented with more severe gallbladder disease and appendicitis. These findings suggest that the pandemic has affected patients with acute surgical conditions.

    View details for DOI 10.4240/wjgs.v13.i8.859

    View details for PubMedID 34512909

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8394376