To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Schistosomiasis has been subjected to extensive control efforts in the People's Republic of China (China) which aims to eliminate the disease by 2030. We describe baseline results of a longitudinal cohort study undertaken in the Dongting and Poyang lakes areas of central China designed to determine the prevalence of Schistosoma japonicum in humans, animals (goats and bovines) and Oncomelania snails utilizing molecular diagnostics procedures. Data from the Chinese National Schistosomiasis Control Programme (CNSCP) were compared with the molecular results obtained.
Sixteen villages from Hunan and Jiangxi provinces were surveyed; animals were only found in Hunan. The prevalence of schistosomiasis in humans was 1.8% in Jiangxi and 8.0% in Hunan determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), while 18.3% of animals were positive by digital droplet PCR. The CNSCP data indicated that all villages harboured S. japonicum-infected individuals, detected serologically by indirect haemagglutination assay (IHA), but very few, if any, of these were subsequently positive by Kato-Katz (KK).
Based on the outcome of the IHA and KK results, the CNSCP incorporates targeted human praziquantel chemotherapy but this approach can miss some infections as evidenced by the results reported here. Sensitive molecular diagnostics can play a key role in the elimination of schistosomiasis in China and inform control measures allowing for a more systematic approach to treatment.
Hookworms are some of the most widespread of the soil-transmitted helminths (STH) with an estimated 438.9 million people infected. Until relatively recently Ancylostoma ceylanicum was regarded as a rare cause of hookworm infection in humans, with little public health relevance. However, recent advances in molecular diagnostics have revealed a much higher prevalence of this zoonotic hookworm than previously thought, particularly in Asia. This study examined the prevalence of STH and A. ceylanicum in the municipalities of Palapag and Laoang in the Philippines utilizing real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on stool samples previously collected as part of a cross-sectional survey of schistosomiasis japonica. Prevalence of hookworm in humans was high with 52.8% (n = 228/432) individuals positive for any hookworm, 34.5% (n = 149/432) infected with Necator americanus, and 29.6% (n = 128/432) with Ancylostoma spp; of these, 34 were PCR-positive for A. ceylanicum. Considering dogs, 12 (n = 33) were PCR-positive for A. ceylanicum. This is the first study to utilize molecular diagnostics to identify A. ceylanicum in the Philippines with both humans and dogs infected. Control and elimination of this zoonotic hookworm will require a multifaceted approach including chemotherapy of humans, identification of animal reservoirs, improvements in health infrastructure, and health education to help prevent infection.
Praziquantel (PZQ) is the drug of choice for schistosomiasis. The potential drug resistance necessitates the search for adjunct or alternative therapies to PZQ. Previous functional genomics has shown that RNAi inhibition of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) gene in Schistosoma adult worms significantly improved the effectiveness of PZQ. Here we tested the in vitro efficacy of 15 selective and non-selective CaMK inhibitors against Schistosoma mansoni and showed that PZQ efficacy was improved against refractory juvenile parasites when combined with these CaMK inhibitors. By measuring CaMK activity and the mobility of adult S. mansoni, we identified two non-selective CaMK inhibitors, Staurosporine (STSP) and 1Naphthyl PP1 (1NAPP1), as promising candidates for further study. The impact of STSP and 1NAPP1 was investigated in mice infected with S. mansoni in the presence or absence of a sub-lethal dose of PZQ against 2- and 7-day-old schistosomula and adults. Treatment with STSP/PZQ induced a significant (47–68%) liver egg burden reduction compared with mice treated with PZQ alone. The findings indicate that the combination of STSP and PZQ dosages significantly improved anti-schistosomal activity compared to PZQ alone, demonstrating the potential of selective and non-selective CaMK/kinase inhibitors as a combination therapy with PZQ in treating schistosomiasis.
Novel tools for early diagnosis and monitoring of schistosomiasis are urgently needed. This study aimed to validate parasite-derived miRNAs as potential novel biomarkers for the detection of human Schistosoma japonicum infection. A total of 21 miRNAs were initially validated by real-time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using serum samples of S. japonicum-infected BALB/c mice. Of these, 6 miRNAs were further validated with a human cohort of individuals from a schistosomiasis-endemic area of the Philippines. RT-PCR analysis showed that two parasite-derived miRNAs (sja-miR-2b-5p and sja-miR-2c-5p) could detect infected individuals with low infection intensity with moderate sensitivity/specificity values of 66%/68% and 55%/80%, respectively. Analysis of the combined data for the two parasite miRNAs revealed a specificity of 77.4% and a sensitivity of 60.0% with an area under the curve (AUC) value of 0.6906 (P = 0.0069); however, a duplex RT-PCR targeting both sja-miR-2b-5p and sja-miR-2c-5p did not result in an increased diagnostic performance compared with the singleplex assays. Furthermore, the serum level of sja-miR-2c-5p correlated significantly with faecal egg counts, whereas the other five miRNAs did not. Targeting S. japonicum-derived miRNAs in serum resulted in a moderate diagnostic performance when applied to a low schistosome infection intensity setting.
Schistosomiasis in China has been substantially reduced due to an effective control programme employing various measures including bovine and human chemotherapy, and the removal of bovines from endemic areas. To fulfil elimination targets, it will be necessary to identify other possible reservoir hosts for Schistosoma japonicum and include them in future control efforts. This study determined the infection prevalence of S. japonicum in rodents (0–9·21%), dogs (0–18·37%) and goats (6·9–46·4%) from the Dongting Lake area of Hunan province, using a combination of traditional coproparasitological techniques (miracidial hatching technique and Kato-Katz thick smear technique) and molecular methods [quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR)]. We found a much higher prevalence in goats than previously recorded in this setting. Cattle and water buffalo were also examined using the same procedures and all were found to be infected, emphasising the occurrence of active transmission. qPCR and ddPCR were much more sensitive than the coproparasitological procedures with both KK and MHT considerably underestimating the true prevalence in all animals surveyed. The high level of S. japonicum prevalence in goats indicates that they are likely important reservoirs in schistosomiasis transmission, necessitating their inclusion as targets of control, if the goal of elimination is to be achieved in China.
The current World Health Organization strategic plan targets the elimination of schistosomiasis as a public health problem by 2025 and accurate diagnostics will play a pivotal role in achieving this goal. DNA-based detection methods provide a viable alternative to some of the commonly used tests, notably microscopy and serology, for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis. The detection of parasite cell-free DNA in different clinical samples is a recent valuable advance, which provides significant benefits for accurate disease diagnosis. Here we validated a novel duplex droplet digital PCR assay for the diagnosis of Chinese (SjC) and Philippine (SjP) strains of Schistosoma japonicum infection in a mouse model. The assay proved applicable for both SjC and SjP infections and capable of detecting infection at a very early intra-mammalian stage in conveniently obtainable samples (urine and saliva) as well as in serum and feces. The target DNA copy numbers obtained in the assay showed a positive correlation with the infection burden assessed by direct traditional parasitology. The potential to detect parasite DNA in urine and saliva has important practical implications for large-scale epidemiological screening programmes in the future, particularly in terms of logistical convenience, and the assay has the potential to be a valuable additional tool for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis japonica.
This study investigated comparatively the pathogenicity of experimental infection of mice and guinea pigs, with Angiostrongylus mackerrasae and the closely related species A. cantonensis. Time course analyses showed that A. mackerrasae causes eosinophilic meningitis in these hosts, which suggests that the species has the potential to cause meningitis in humans and domestic animals. Both A. mackerrasae and the genetically similar A. cantonensis caused eosinophilic meningitis in mice at two time points of 14 and 21 days post infection (dpi). The brain lesions in mice infected with A. mackerrasae were more granulomatous in nature and the parasites were more likely to appear degenerate compared with lesions caused by A. cantonensis. This may indicate that the mouse immune system eliminates A. mackerrasae infection more effectively. The immunologic responses of mice infected with the two Angiostrongylus species was compared by assessing ex vivo stimulated spleen derived T cells and cytokines including interferon-gamma, interleukin 4 and interleukin 17 on 14 and 21 dpi. The results were similar for mice infected with A. cantonensis and A. mackerrasae. Serum from the infected animals with either A. cantonensis or A. mackerrasae recognized total soluble antigen of A. cantonensis female worms on Western blot.
Little is known about the molecular mechanisms whereby the human blood fluke Schistosoma japonicum is able to survive in the host venous blood system. Protease inhibitors are likely released by the parasite enabling it to avoid attack by host proteolytic enzymes and coagulation factors. Interrogation of the S. japonicum genomic sequence identified a gene, SjKI-1, homologous to that encoding a single domain Kunitz protein (Sjp_0020270) which we expressed in recombinant form in Escherichia coli and purified. SjKI-1 is highly transcribed in adult worms and eggs but its expression was very low in cercariae and schistosomula. In situ immunolocalization with anti-SjKI-1 rabbit antibodies showed the protein was present in eggs trapped in the infected mouse intestinal wall. In functional assays, SjKI-1 inhibited trypsin in the picomolar range and chymotrypsin, neutrophil elastase, FXa and plasma kallikrein in the nanomolar range. Furthermore, SjKI-1, at a concentration of 7·5 µm, prolonged 2-fold activated partial thromboplastin time of human blood coagulation. We also demonstrate that SjKI-1 has the ability to bind Ca++. We present, therefore, characterization of the first Kunitz protein from S. japonicum which we show has an anti-coagulant properties. In addition, its inhibition of neutrophil elastase indicates SjKI-1 have an anti-inflammatory role. Having anti-thrombotic properties, SjKI-1 may point the way towards novel treatment for hemostatic disorders.
Schistosomiasis is a significant cause of human morbidity and mortality. We performed a genome-wide transcriptional survey of liver biopsies obtained from Chinese patients with chronic schistosomiasis only, or chronic schistosomiasis with a current or past history of viral hepatitis B. Both disease groups were compared with patients with no prior history or indicators of any liver disease. Analysis showed in the main, downregulation in gene expression, particularly those involved in signal transduction via EIF2 signalling and mTOR signalling, as were genes associated with cellular remodelling. Focusing on immune associated pathways, genes were generally downregulated. However, a set of three genes associated with granulocytes, MMP7, CLDN7, CXCL6 were upregulated. Differential gene profiles unique to schistosomiasis included the gene Granulin which was decreased despite being generally considered a marker for liver disease, and IGBP2 which is associated with increased liver size, and was the most upregulated gene in schistosomiasis only patients, all of which presented with hepatomegaly. The unique features of gene expression, in conjunction with previous reports in the murine model of the cellular composition of granulomas, granuloma formation and recovery, provide an increased understanding of the molecular immunopathology and general physiological processes underlying hepatic schistosomiasis.
Schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent, insidious and serious of the tropical parasitic diseases. Although the effective anthelmintic drug, praziquantel, is widely available and cheap, it does not protect against re-infection, drug-resistant schistosome may evolve and mass drug administration programmes based around praziquantel are probably unsustainable long term. Whereas protective anti-schistosome vaccines are not yet available, the zoonotic nature of Schistosoma japonicum provides a novel approach for developing a transmission-blocking veterinary vaccine in domestic animals, especially bovines, which are major reservoir hosts, being responsible for up to 90% of environmental egg contamination in China and the Philippines. However, a greater knowledge of schistosome immunology is required to understand the processes associated with anti-schistosome protective immunity and to reinforce the rationale for vaccine development against schistosomiasis japonica. Importantly as well, improved diagnostic tests, with high specificity and sensitivity, which are simple, rapid and able to diagnose light S. japonicum infections, are required to determine the extent of transmission interruption and the complete elimination of schistosomiasis following control efforts. This article discusses aspects of the host immune response in schistosomiasis, the current status of vaccine development against S. japonicum and reviews approaches for diagnosing and detecting schistosome infections in mammalian hosts.
Serine protease inhibitors (serpin) play essential roles in many organisms. Mammalian serpins regulate the blood coagulation, fibrinolysis, inflammation and complement activation pathways. In parasitic helminths, serpins are less well characterized, but may also be involved in evasion of the host immune response. In this study, a Schistosoma japonicum serpin (SjB10), containing a 1212 bp open reading frame (ORF), was cloned, expressed and functionally characterized. Sequence analysis, comparative modelling and structural-based alignment revealed that SjB10 contains the essential structural motifs and consensus secondary structures of inhibitory serpins. Transcriptional profiling demonstrated that SjB10 is expressed in adult males, schistosomula and eggs but particularly in the cercariae, suggesting a possible role in cercarial penetration of mammalian host skin. Recombinant SjB10 (rSjB10) inhibited pancreatic elastase (PE) in a dose-dependent manner. rSjB10 was recognized strongly by experimentally infected rat sera indicating that native SjB10 is released into host tissue and induces an immune response. By immunochemistry, SjB10 localized in the S. japonicum adult foregut and extra-embryonic layer of the egg. This study provides a comprehensive demonstration of sequence and structural-based analysis of a functional S. japonicum serpin. Furthermore, our findings suggest that SjB10 may be associated with important functional roles in S. japonicum particularly in host-parasite interactions.
Serine protease inhibitors (serpins) are a superfamily of structurally conserved proteins that inhibit serine proteases and play key physiological roles in numerous biological systems such as blood coagulation, complement activation and inflammation. A number of serpins have now been identified in parasitic helminths with putative involvement in immune regulation and in parasite survival through interference with the host immune response. This review describes the serpins and smapins (small serine protease inhibitors) that have been identified in Ascaris spp., Brugia malayi, Ancylostoma caninum Onchocerca volvulus, Haemonchus contortus, Trichinella spiralis, Trichostrongylus vitrinus, Anisakis simplex, Trichuris suis, Schistosoma spp., Clonorchis sinensis, Paragonimus westermani and Echinococcus spp. and discusses their possible biological functions, including roles in host-parasite interplay and their evolutionary relationships.
This report describes a case of fatal enterobiasis caused by Enterobius sp. in the mesenteric lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels of mesentery, blood vessels of the liver and lungs of a chimpanzee from Qingdao Zoo, China. Based on pathological findings, it is likely that the pinworms obtained access to these organs via the lymphatic or haematogenous pathway. As far as we are aware, this is the first reported case of Enterobius sp. in the mesenteric lymph nodes and blood vessels of the lungs and veins of the hepatic triad in a chimpanzee.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.