Skip to main content Accessibility help

Penetration of human skin by the cercariae of Schistosoma mansoni: an investigation of the effect of multiple cercarial applications

  • R.J. Ingram (a1) (a2), A. Bartlett (a1), M.B. Brown (a2), C. Marriott (a2) and P.J. Whitfield (a1)...


It has previously been postulated that L-arginine emitted by penetrating Schistosoma mansoni cercariae serves as an intraspecific signal guiding other cercariae to the penetration site. It was suggested that penetrating in groups offers a selective advantage. If this hypothesis is correct and group penetration at one site on the host offers an advantage, it would follow that at such a site, successive groups of cercariae would be able to penetrate skin in either greater numbers or at a faster rate. This prediction was tested by the use of an in vitro model of cercarial penetration based on the Franz cell and using human skin. It was demonstrated that there was no increase in the percentage of cercariae able to penetrate the skin with subsequent exposures. Consequently, it seems unlikely that the release of L-arginine by cercariae during penetration could have evolved as a specific orientation system based on a selective advantage offered by group penetration.


Corresponding author

*Fax: 0207 848 4195 Email:


Hide All
Bartlett, A., Brown, M., Marriott, C. & Whitfield, P.J. (2000) The infection of human skin by schistosome cercariae: studies using Franz cells. Parasitology 121, 4954.
Behl, C.R., Kumar, S., Patel, S. & Piemontese, P. (1990) Choice membranes for in vitro skin uptake studies. pp. 123in Kemppainen, B.W. & Reifenrath, W.G. (Eds) Methods for skin absorption. Boston, CRC Press
Behl, C.R., Metha, D.B., Malick, A.W., Patel, S.B., Char, H. & Piemontese, D. (1993) In vivo and in vitro skin uptake and permeation studies. pp. 225259in Shah, V.P. & Maibach, H.I. (Eds) Topical drug bioavalability, bioequivalance and penetration. New York, Plenum Press.
Brown, M.B., Marriott, C. & Martin, G.P. (1995) The effect of hyaluronan on the in vitro deposition of diclofenac within the skin. International Journal of Tissue Reactions 17, 133140.
Bruce, J.I., Pezzlo, F., McCarthy, J.E. & Yajima, Y. (1970) Migration of Schistosoma mansoni through mouse tissue: ultrastructure of host tissue and integument of migrating larvae following cercarial penetration. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 19, 959981.
Chitsulo, L., Engels, D., Montresor, A. & Savioli, L. (2000) The global status of schistosomiasis and its control. Acta Tropica 77, 4151.
Fukuyma, K., Tzeng, S., Mckerrow, J. & Epstein, W.L. (1983) The epidermal barrier to Schistosoma mansoni infection. Current Problems in Dermatology 11, 185193.
Fusco, A.C., Cassioppi, L., Salafsky, B. & Shibuya, T. (1993) Penetration of Schistosoma mansoni cercariae into a living skin equivalent. Journal of Parasitology 79, 444448.
Gordon, R.M. & Griffiths, R.B. (1951) Observations on the means by which the cercariae of Schistosoma mansoni penetrate mammalian skin, together with an account of certain morphological changes in the newly penetrated larvae. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 45, 227434.
Granzer, M. & Haas, W. (1986) The chemical stimuli of human skin surface for the attachment response of Schistosoma mansoni cercariae. International Journal for Parasitology 16, 575579.
Griffiths, R.B. (1953) Further observations on the penetration of mammalian skin by the cercariae of Schistosoma mansoni, with special reference to the effects of mass invasion. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 47, 8694.
Haas, W. (1994) Physiological analysis of host-finding behaviour in trematode cercariae: adaptations for transmission success. Parasitology 109, S15S29.
Haas, W. & Schmitt, R. (1982) Characterisation of chemical stimuli for the penetration of Schistosoma mansoni cercariae. Zeitschrift für Parasitenkunde 66, 293307.
Monteiro-Riviere, N.A. (1996) Anatomical factors effecting barrier function. pp. 318in Murzulli, F.N. & Macibach, H.I. (Eds) Dermatotoxicity. 5th edn. London, Taylor and Francis.
Standen, O.D. (1949) Experimental schistosomiasis II: maintenance of Schistosoma mansoni in the laboratory, with some notes on experimental infection with S. haematobium. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 43, 268283.
Standen, O.D. (1953) The penetration of cercariae of Schistosoma mansoni into the skin and lymphatics of the mouse. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 46, 384398.
Stirwalt, M.A. & Walters, M. (1973) Schistosoma mansoni: histochemical analysis of the postacetabular gland secretion of cercariae. Experimental Parasitology 33, 5672.
Upatham, E.S. & Sturrock, R.F. (1973) Studies on the effects of cercarial concentration and length of exposure on the infection of mice by Schistosoma mansoni. Parasitology 67, 219228.
Wilson, R.A. (1987) Cercariae to liver worm: development and migration in the mammalian host. pp. 115146in Rollinson, D. & Simpson, A.J.G. (Eds) The biology of schistosomes: from genes to latrines. London, Academic Press.
Wilson, R.A. & Lawson, J. (1980) An examination of the skin phase of schistosome migration using a hamster cheek pouch preparation. Parasitology 80, 257266.
Wilson, R.A., Coulson, P.S. & Sturrock, R.F. (1990) Schistosome migration in primates: a study in the olive baboon (Papio anubis). Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 84, 8083.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Penetration of human skin by the cercariae of Schistosoma mansoni: an investigation of the effect of multiple cercarial applications

  • R.J. Ingram (a1) (a2), A. Bartlett (a1), M.B. Brown (a2), C. Marriott (a2) and P.J. Whitfield (a1)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.