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Human serum activates the tegument of female schistosomes and supports recovery from Praziquantel

Authors
  • Winkelmann, Franziska1
  • Frank, Marcus2, 3
  • Rabes, Anne1
  • Koslowski, Nicole1
  • Schulz, Cindy1
  • Bischofsberger, Miriam1
  • Reisinger, Emil C.1
  • Sombetzki, Martina1
  • 1 Division of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Center of Internal Medicine II, University Medical Center Rostock, Rostock, Germany
  • 2 Medical Biology and Electron Microscopy Center, University Medical Center Rostock, Rostock, Germany
  • 3 University of Rostock,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Parasitology Research
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2020
Volume
120
Issue
1
Pages
209–221
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00436-020-06968-x
PMID: 33263166
PMCID: PMC7846515
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Immunology and Host-Parasite Interactions - Original Paper
License
Unknown

Abstract

Schistosomiasis is one of the most devastating parasitic disease in the world. Schistosoma spp. survive for decades within the vasculature of their human hosts. They have evolved a vast array of mechanisms to avoid the immune reaction of the host. Due to their sexual dimorphism, with the female worm lying within the gynecophoric canal of the male worm, it is the male that is exposed to the immediate environment and the soluble parts of the host’s immune response. To understand how the worms are so successful in fending off the immune attacks of the host, comparative analyses of both worm sexes in human serum (with or without Praziquantel) were performed using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistry. Further, gene expression analyses of tegument-specific genes were performed. Following the incubation in human serum, males and females out of pairs show morphological changes such as an altered structure of the pits below the surface and an increased number of pits per area. In addition, female schistosomes presented a marked tuft-like repulsion of their opsonized surface. The observed resistance of females to Praziquantel seemed to depend on active proteins in the human serum. Moreover, different expression profiles of tegument-specific genes indicate different functions of female_single and male_single teguments in response to human serum. Our results indicate that female schistosomes developed different evasion strategies toward the host’s immune system in comparison to males that might lead to more robustness and has to be taken into account for the development of new anti-schistosomal drugs. Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s00436-020-06968-x.

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