Project leader: Dr. Alexander Kwarteng
The Kwarteng laboratory is dedicated to research into tropical infections and non-communicable diseases. Our lab takes special interest in neglected diseases to explore the host immune responses and molecular mechanisms underlying these diseases of poverty in rural Ghana. In addition, our lab is also advancing research studies using an interdisciplinary approach and a cultural perspective, to fight social stigmatization and depressive mental illness in LF endemic communities in Ghana.
Of note, we seek to exploit the various microbial populations/communities and their role towards the progression and/or improvement among individuals with neglected tropical diseases, i.e. lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis (NTD-microbiome axis).
The Kwarteng lab with other collaborators is investigating the healing markers (MMP-9, MMP-2, TIMP-1, TGF-β, Galectins and NGAL) associated with the delayed wound healing of lymphatic filariasis individuals presenting with chronic wounds using the state-art-facilities at KCCR. Furthermore, we aim to investigate the relationship of these markers with the wound healing process as well as the general immune profile (Th1, Th2, Th17 and T regs) of the LF patients.
We are also using several bioinformatics pipelines and computational biology techniques to understand the mechanisms underlying these diseases; identify specific biomarkers and potential vaccine candidates. Here, we use techniques ranging from epitope-prediction, immune simulation, drug discovery, transcriptomics and protein structure analysis. Furthermore, we also spend our energies to explore novel pathways of non-communicable diseases such as breast cancer, hepatitis etc. using single cell RNA and DNA sequencing approaches.
The Kwarteng Lab has investigated the possible complications of secondary bacterial infection among the individuals presenting with filarial lymphedema which was known as the SecBile Project and was hosted at KCCR
Investigating mental health and disease-related stress among lymphatic filariasis patients in Ghana (LF-STRESS)
The frequency of filarial attacks among lymphedema patients: A focus on leg stage, adherence to foot-care hygiene, and the impact of seasonal variations (LF-ATTACK)
Microbial pathogens contributing to non-healing wounds among lymphatic filariasis patients in Ghana (LF-BAC)
Title: Impact of secondary bacterial infection in the development of filarial lymphedema among Ghanaian patients (SECBILE)
Filarial infections are among the most important diseases in sub-Saharan Africa and are strongly associated with poverty. Bacteria and fungi are believed to be important opportunists among individuals living with lymphedema following a break in the skin’s integrity. However, this remains to be documented among individuals with lymphedema in Ghana, where about 20% develop this form of pathology in LF endemic regions. Therefore, this study seeks to address the current knowledge gap by investigating secondary bacterial and fungi populations that are implicated in the development of LE in Ghana. Taken together, these would inform practice with regards to the common secondary microbial populations that could be targeted during the course of LE management in Ghana as well as setting the foundations for the development of novel immunotherapeutic needed for treatment and management of LF.
Project Tile: Investigating mental health and disease-related stress among lymphatic filariasis patients in Ghana (LF-STRESS)
There is growing evidence that neglected tropical diseases predispose individuals to poor mental health given the high stigma and discrimination associated with these diseases. However, it is also estimated that mental health will be the greatest contributor of global health burden by 2030, while the link between lymphatic filariasis and its physiological and psychological impacts remains to be fully established with research evidence. Therefore, this study investigates the psychological and emotional impact of lymphatic filariasis in LF-endemic communities such as Ghana.
Project Title: The frequency of filarial attacks among lymphedema patients: A focus on leg stage, adherence to foot-care hygiene, and the impact of seasonal variations (LF-ATTACK)
Our understanding of the disease (lymphedema) dynamics and the impact of environmental factors on the progression of lymphedema is limited. Therefore, knowledge of the seasonal variations on filarial attacks among lymphedema patients will be key in the development of appropriate interventions for effective management of these attacks. We anticipate that this study will shed lights on the dynamics of LF attacks among lymphedema patients. Through this study, our understanding of the impact of environmental factors (weather) on lymphedema disease progression will be expanded thereby serving as the basis for the development of new management practices or revising existing ones where necessary.
Project Title: Microbial pathogens contributing to non-healing wounds among lymphatic filariasis patients in Ghana (LF-BAC)
Identifying the factors that promote non-healing wounds is crucial in developing novel therapeutics that will eventually make individuals with filarial diseases productive. This project seeks to characterize and compare the microbial populations from wounds of filariasis patients and non-filarial patient’s wounds; to determine the antimicrobial susceptibility of isolated microbial populations; to determine the differential host immune response among patients with advanced filarial wounds and non-filarial patient’s wounds in filarial endemic communities in Ghana.
Measuring routine childhood vaccination coverage in 204 countries and territories, 1980-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2020, Release 1. Lancet. 2021 Jul 14;. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00984-3. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 34273291
Kwarteng A, Sylverken A, Antwi-Berko D, Ahuno ST, Asiedu SO. Prospects of Immunology Education and Research in Developing Countries. Front Public Health. 2021;9:652439. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.652439. eCollection 2021. Review. PubMed PMID: 34169055; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8217613
Kwarteng A, Asiedu E, Sakyi SA, Asiedu SO. Targeting the SARS-CoV2 nucleocapsid protein for potential therapeutics using immuno-informatics and structure-based drug discovery techniques. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy; 2020 Dec;132:110914.
Kwarteng, A., Asiedu, E., Mubarik, Y. et al. Exploring Onchocerca volvulus Cysteine Protease Inhibitor for Multi-epitope Subunit Vaccine Against Onchocerciasis: An Immunoinformatics Approach. Int J Pept Res Ther 27, 1953–1966 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10989-021-10224-w
Kwarteng EV, Andam-Akorful SA, Kwarteng A, Asare DC, Quaye-Ballard JA, Osei FB, Duker AA. Spatial variation in lymphatic filariasis risk factors of hotspot zones in Ghana. BMC public health. 2021 Jan 28;21(1):230.
Asiedu, S.O., Kwarteng, A., Amewu, E.K.A. et al. Financial burden impact quality of life among lymphatic Filariasis patients. BMC Public Health 21, 174 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-10170-8.
Kwarteng A, Asiedu E, Sylverken AA, Larbi A, Sakyi SA, Asiedu SO. Molecular characterization of interactions between the D614G variant of SARS-CoV-2 S-protein and neutralizing antibodies: A computational approach. Infection, Genetics and Evolution. 2021 Jul 1;91:104815.
Kwarteng A, Sylverken A, Asiedu E, Ahuno ST. Genome editing as control tool for filarial infections. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy; 2021;137:111292.
Sylverken AA, El-Duah P, Owusu M, Schneider J, Yeboah R, Ayisi-Boateng NK, Gorman R, Adu E, Kwarteng A, Frimpong M, Binger T. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in northern Ghana: insights from whole-genome sequencing. Archives of virology. 2021 May;166(5):1385-93.
Kwarteng A, Asiedu E, Sylverken A, Larbi A, Mubarik Y, Apprey C. In silico drug repurposing for filarial infection predicts nilotinib and paritaprevir as potential inhibitors of the Wolbachia 5′-aminolevulinic acid synthase. Scientific Reports. 2021 Apr 19;11(1).
Sakyi SA, Laing EF, Mantey R, Kwarteng A, Owiredu E-W, Dadzie RE, et al. Profiling immuno-metabolic mediators of vitamin B12 deficiency among metformin-treated type 2 diabetic patients in Ghana. PLoS ONE 2021 16(3): e0249325. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0249325
Fordjour FA, Asiedu E, Larbi A, Kwarteng A. The role of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) in filarial pathology. Journal of Cell Communication and Signaling. 2021 Feb 25:1-9.
Kwarteng A, Arthur YD, Asiedu SO, Yamba JK, Amewu EK, Kwarteng EV, Ahuno ST. Mass Drug Administration Interruption by COVID-19 reportedly increases lymphatic filarial attacks, pains, and perceived increased lymphatic filarial infection transmission in rural Ghana. 2021. in press BMC Infectious Disease.
Ahuno ST, Doebley AL, Ahearn TU, Yarney J, Titiloye N, Hamel N, Adjei E, Clegg-Lamptey JN, Edusei L, Awuah B, Song X. Kwarteng, A… Circulating tumor DNA is readily detectable among Ghanaian breast cancer patients supporting non-invasive cancer genomic studies in Africa. medRxiv. 2020. Jan 1. in press Precision Oncology, Nature Group of Publications
- Kwarteng A, Yarhands Dissou-Arthur, Sylverken A, Frimpong M, Ahuno TS and Owusu-Dabo E. Key drivers of graduate students’ interest in the subject of immunology in a tertiary institution of Ghana. Cogent Education (2018), 5: 1498162 https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2018.1498162
- Kwarteng A, Frimpong M, Sylverken A, Arthur DY, Ahuno TS, Owusu-Dabo E, Graduate students’ interest in immunology as a discipline. Cogent Education (2017), 4: 1398705 https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2017.1398705
- Kwarteng A, Ahuno ST. Immunity in filarial infections: lessons from animal models and human studies. Scand J Immunol. 2017.
- Kwarteng A, Amuasi J, Annan A, Ahuno S, Opare D, Nagel M, et al. Current meningitis outbreak in Ghana: Historical perspectives and the importance of diagnostics. Acta Trop. 2017;169:51-6.
- Kwarteng A, Ahuno ST, Akoto FO. Killing filarial nematode parasites: role of treatment options and host immune response. Infect Dis Poverty. 2016;5(1):86.
- Kwarteng A, Ahuno ST. The Potentials and Pitfalls of Microarrays in Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Focus on Human Filarial Infections. Microarrays. 2016;5(3).
- Katawa G, Layland LE, Debrah AY, von Horn C, Batsa L,Kwarteng A, et al. Hyperreactive Onchocerciasis is Characterized by a Combination of Th17-Th2 Immune Responses and Reduced Regulatory T Cells. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015;9(1):e3414.
- Debrah AY, Specht S, Klarmann-Schulz U, Batsa L, Mand S, Marfo-Debrekyei Y,Kwarteng A, et al. Doxycycline Leads to Sterility and Enhanced Killing of Female Onchocerca volvulus Worms in an Area with Persistent Microfilaridermia After Repeated Ivermectin Treatment: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial. Clin Infect Dis. 2015;61(4):517-26.
- Arndts K, Specht S, Debrah AY, Tamarozzi F, Klarmann Schulz U, Mand S,Kwarteng A,et al. Immunoepidemiological profiling of onchocerciasis patients reveals associations with microfilaria loads and ivermectin intake on both individual and community levels. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014;8(2):e2679.
- Arndts K, Deininger S, Specht S, Klarmann U, Mand S, Adjobimey T,Kwarteng A, et al. Elevated adaptive immune responses are associated with latent infections of Wuchereria bancrofti. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2012;6(4):e1611.
- Mand S, Debrah AY, Klarmann U, Batsa L, Marfo-Debrekyei Y,Kwarteng A, et al. Doxycycline improves filarial lymphedema independent of active filarial infection: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Infect Dis. 2012;55(5):621-30.
- Mand S, Debrah AY, Klarmann U, Mante S,Kwarteng A,Batsa L, et al. The role of ultrasonography in the differentiation of the various types of filaricele due to bancroftian filariasis. Acta Trop. 2011;120 Suppl 1:S23-32.
ARNDT – SMALL GRANT