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Obligatory symbiotic Wolbachia endobacteria are absent from Loa loa

BioMed Central
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Abstract ral ss BioMed CentFilaria Journal Open AcceResearch Obligatory symbiotic Wolbachia endobacteria are absent from Loa loa Dietrich W Büttner*1, Samuel Wanji2, Chiara Bazzocchi3, Odile Bain4 and Peter Fischer1 Address: 1Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Bernhard-Nocht-Strasse 74, D-20359 Hamburg, Germany, 2Departement des Science de la Vie, Université Buea, BP 63, Buea, Cameroon, 3Dipartimento di Patologia Animale, Igiene e Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria, Università di Milano, Via Celoria 10, I-20133 Milano, Italy and 4Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle et Ecole Pratiques des Hautes Etudes, 61 rue Buffon, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France Email: Dietrich W Büttner* - [email protected]; Samuel Wanji - [email protected]; Chiara Bazzocchi - [email protected]; Odile Bain - [email protected]; Peter Fischer - [email protected] * Corresponding author Abstract Background: Many filarial nematodes harbour Wolbachia endobacteria. These endobacteria are transmitted vertically from one generation to the next. In several filarial species that have been studied to date they are obligatory symbionts of their hosts. Elimination of the endobacteria by antibiotics interrupts the embryogenesis and hence the production of microfilariae. The medical implication of this being that the use of doxycycline for the treatment of human onchocerciasis and bancroftian filariasis leads to elimination of the Wolbachia and hence sterilisation of the female worms. Wolbachia play a role in the immunopathology of patients and may contribute to side effects seen after antifilarial chemotherapy. In several studies Wolbachia were not observed in Loa loa. Since these results have been doubted, and because of the medical significance, several independent methods were applied to search for Wolbachia in L. loa. Methods: Loa loa and Onchocerca volvulus were studied by electron microscopy, histology with silver staining, and immunohistology using antibodies against WSP

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