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Concept: Schistosoma mansoni


Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that is highly prevalent, especially in developing countries. Biomphalaria tenagophila is an important invertebrate host of Schistosoma mansoni in Brazil, with some strains (e.g. Cabo Frio) being highly susceptible to the parasite, whereas others (e.g. Taim) are completely resistant to infection. Therefore, B. tenagophila is an important research model for studying immune defense mechanisms against S. mansoni. The internal defense system (IDS) of the snail comprises hemocytes and hemolymph factors acting together to recognize self from non-self molecular patterns to eliminate the threat of infection. We performed experiments to understand the cellular defenses related to the resistance and/or susceptibility of B. tenagophila to S. mansoni. During the early stages of infection, fibrous host cells of both snail strains were arranged as a thin layer surrounding the sporocysts. However, at later stages of infection, the cellular reactions in resistant snails were increasingly more intense, with thicker layers surrounding the parasites, in contrast to susceptible strains. All parasites were damaged or destroyed inside resistant snails after 10 h of infection. By contrast, parasites inside susceptible snails appeared to be morphologically healthy. We also performed experiments using isolated hemocytes from the two strains interacting with sporocysts. Hemocyte attachment started as early as 1 h after initial infection in both strains, but the killing of sporocysts was exclusive to hemocytes from the resistant strain and was time course dependent. The resistant strain was able to kill all sporocysts. In conclusion, our study revealed important aspects of the initial process of infection related to immune defense responses of strains of B. tenagophila that were resistant to S. mansoni compared with strains that were susceptible. Such information is relevant for the survival or death of the parasites and so is important in the development of control measures against this parasite.

Concepts: Immune system, Schistosomiasis, Schistosoma mansoni, Parasitism, Biomphalaria, Biomphalaria tenagophila, Biomphalaria glabrata, Biomphalaria straminea


Upon infection with Schistosoma, antibody responses are mounted that are largely directed against glycans. Over the last few years significant progress has been made in characterizing the antigenic properties of N-glycans of Schistosoma mansoni. Despite also being abundantly expressed by schistosomes, much less is understood about O-glycans and antibody responses to these have not yet been systematically analyzed. Antibody binding to schistosome glycans can be analyzed efficiently and quantitatively using glycan microarrays, but O-glycan array construction and exploration is lagging behind because no universal O-glycanase is available, and release of O-glycans has been dependent on chemical methods. Recently, a modified hydrazinolysis method has been developed that allows the release of O-glycans with free reducing termini and limited degradation, and we applied this method to obtain O-glycans from different S. mansoni life stages. Two-dimensional HPLC separation of 2-aminobenzoic acid-labeled O-glycans generated 362 O-glycan-containing fractions that were printed on an epoxide-modified glass slide, thereby generating the first shotgun O-glycan microarray containing naturally occurring schistosome O-glycans. Monoclonal antibodies and mass spectrometry showed that the O-glycan microarray contains well-known antigenic glycan motifs as well as numerous other, potentially novel, antibody targets. Incubations of the microarrays with sera from Schistosoma-infected humans showed substantial antibody responses to O-glycans in addition to those observed to the previously investigated N- and glycosphingolipid glycans. This underlines the importance of the inclusion of these often schistosome-specific O-glycans in glycan antigen studies and indicates that O-glycans contain novel antigenic motifs that have potential for use in diagnostic methods and studies aiming at the discovery of vaccine targets.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Schistosomiasis, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma, Digenea, Antigen, Strigeidida


Symptomatic acute schistosomiasis mansoni is a systemic hypersensitivity reaction against the migrating schistosomula and mature eggs after a primary infection. The mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of acute schistosomiasis are not fully elucidated. Osteopontin has been implicated in granulomatous reactions and in acute hepatic injury. Our aims were to evaluate if osteopontin plays a role in acute Schistosoma mansoni infection in both human and experimentally infected mice and if circulating OPN levels could be a novel biomarker of this infection.

Concepts: Immune system, Schistosomiasis, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma, Digenea, Strigeidida, Oxamniquine


Intestinal schistosomiasis due to Schistosoma mansoni was first reported in Oman in 1979. We describe the trend in parasitological and serological prevalence of human infection with S. mansoni in the endemic area over the period 1982-2014, and the compliance of data generated by the national monitoring and evaluation system with schistosomiasis elimination criteria set by the Ministry of Health of Oman.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Schistosomiasis, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma, Digenea, Strigeidida, Oxamniquine


The antischistosomal pro-drug oxamniquine is activated by a sulfotransferase (SULT) in the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni Of the three main human blood fluke species, only S. mansoni is sensitive to oxamniquine therapy despite the presence of SULT orthologs in S. haematobium and S. japonicum The reason for this species-specific drug action has remained a mystery for decades. Here we present the crystal structures of S. haematobium and S. japonicum SULTs, including S. haematobium SULT in complex with oxamniquine. Our finding that all three enzymes show activity toward oxamniquine in vitro reveals differences in catalytic efficiency that implicate kinetics as the determinant for species-specific toxicity. These results support the initiative for designing oxamniquine derivatives to treat infection caused by all species of blood fluke to combat emerging resistance to current therapy.

Concepts: Parasites, Schistosomiasis, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma, Digenea, Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma japonicum, Strigeidida


One of the problems of praziquantel (PZQ) is its very low aqueous solubility. Moreover, its dissolution rate is considered the limiting factor for its bioavailability. This work correlates the physical properties and the dissolution behavior of PZQ-polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) solid dispersion (SD) at the ratios of 1:1 and 3:7 with its oral bioavailability and its in vivo efficacy against Schistosoma mansoni (S. mansoni). The PZQ and PZQ-PVP SD were characterized by infrared spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and solubility test. Results showed a decrease in crystallinity, possible interaction between PZQ and PVP, greater increase in dissolution rate and appreciable reduction in particle size. S. mansoni-infected mice treated orally with either pure PZQ or PZQ-PVP at a single dose of 500 mg/kg showed a higher increase in AUC((0-8h)), C (max), K (a) and t (1/2e) with a significant decrease in k (el) versus the corresponding uninfected mice. Moreover, uninfected and infected mice treated with PZQ-PVP SD showed 2.3-, 1.6- and 1.3-, 1.25-fold increase, respectively, in AUC((0-8h)) and C (max), with a decrease in k (el) and increase in t (1/2e) by twofold versus the corresponding pure PZQ-treated groups. Percentage worm reduction at all administered doses (62.5, 125, 250, 500 and 1,000 mg/kg) was significantly higher (1- to 1.5-fold) in mice treated with PZQ-PVP SD (ED(50) = 40.92) versus those treated with pure PZQ (ED(50) = 99.29). In addition, a significant reduction in total tissue egg load concomitant with a significant decrease in total immature and mature eggs and an increase in dead eggs in PZQ-PVP SD-treated groups versus their corresponding pure PZQ-treated groups was recorded. Solid dispersion of PZQ with PVP could lead to a further improvement in the effectiveness of PZQ therapy especially with the appearance of some PZQ-tolerant S. mansoni isolates.

Concepts: Schistosomiasis, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma, Digenea, Differential scanning calorimetry, Scanning electron microscope, Biopharmaceutics Classification System, Solvation


One approach to fight against schistosomiasis is to develop an efficient vaccine. Schistosoma mansoni tetraspanning orphan receptor (SmTOR) might be a vaccine candidate, as it is a tegument membrane protein expressed most highly in cercariae. In this study we characterized the recombinant first extracellular domain of SmTOR (rSmTORed1) as having the expected property to bind C2 of complement similarly to a smaller peptide of the same domain, and to produce specific and high-titre antibodies in BALB/c mice immunized using complete Freund’s adjuvant/incomplete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA/IFA). Immunization was protective against parasite infection, as demonstrated by a significant decrease in worm burden in immunized BALB/c mice versus the control groups over two independent trials [64 and 45% reduction for mean adult worm burden in immunized versus phosphate-bufferd saline (PBS) injected mice]. Interestingly, infection by itself did not lead to the generation of anti-rSmTORed1 antibodies, corresponding to the low frequency of specific anti-rSmTORed1 antibodies detected in the sera of patients infected with S. mansoni (2/20; 10%). These data suggest that, as opposed to the natural infection during which SmTOR induces antibodies only rarely, immunization with its smaller first extracellular domain might be more efficient.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Immunology, Schistosomiasis, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma, Digenea, Immunologic adjuvant


The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy and safety of two closely spaced doses of praziquantel (PZQ) against Schistosoma haematobium and S. mansoni infection in school-aged children, and to characterise re-infection patterns over a 12-month period. The study was carried out in five villages in western Niger: Falmado, Seberi and Libore (single S. haematobium infection foci), and Diambala and Namarigoungou (mixed S. haematobium-S. mansoni infection foci). Parasitological examinations consisted of triplicate urine filtrations and triplicate Kato-Katz thick smears at each visit. Two 40mg/kg oral doses of PZQ were administered 3 weeks apart. Adverse events were monitored within 4h after dosing by the survey team and 24h after treatment using a questionnaire. Our final study cohort comprised 877 children who were infected with either S. haematobium, or S. mansoni, or both species concurrently and received both doses of PZQ. Follow-up visits were conducted 6 weeks, 6 months and 12 months after the first dose of PZQ. At baseline, the geometric mean (GM) infection intensity of S. haematobium ranged from 3.6 (Diambala) to 30.3eggs/10ml of urine (Falmado). The GM infection intensity of S. mansoni ranged from 86.7 (Diambala) to 151.4eggs/g of stool (Namarigoungou). Adverse events were reported by 33.0% and 1.5% of the children after the first and second doses of PZQ, respectively. We found cure rates (CRs) in S. haematobium-infected children 3 weeks after the second dose of PZQ ranging between 49.2% (Falmado) and 98.4% (Namarigoungou) and moderate-to-high egg reduction rates (ERRs) (71.4-100%). Regarding S. mansoni, only moderate CRs and ERRs were found (51.7-58.8% in Diambala, 55.2-60.2% in Namarigoungou). Twelve months post-treatment, prevalence rates approached pre-treatment levels, but infection intensities remained low. In conclusion, PZQ, given in two closely spaced doses, is efficacious against S. haematobium, but the low ERR observed against S. mansoni raises concern about mounting PZQ tolerance.

Concepts: Parasites, Schistosomiasis, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma, Digenea, Praziquantel, Dose, Schistosoma haematobium


Up to date, schistosomiasis is still prevalent worldwide. It is estimated that more than 200 million individuals are infected, and 120 million suffer from clinical morbidity. Facing such huge cases of schistosomiasis, only heavy reliance on a single praziquantel for schistosomiasis control does not adapt and may promote the selection and spread of drug-resistant parasites. Therefore, it is an urgent need to develop the new antischistosomal drug. In 2008-2009, the antimalarial drug mefloquine, an arylaminoalcohol compound, has been found to be effective against schistosomes. According to the experimental studies, the deepest impression on the antischistosomal properties of mefloquine can be summarized as following points: (1) single dose of mefloquine possesses potential effect against three major species of schistosomes (Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma haematobium, and Schistosoma japonicum) infecting humans; (2) the drug displays similar effects against developing stages of juvenile and adult schistosomes, which are superior to that of artemisinins and praziquantel; (3) in vitro mefloquine exerts direct killing effect on juvenile and adult schistosomes, while in vivo, the efficacy of the drug is independent to host immune response, (4) mefloquine causes extensive and severe morphological, histopathological, and ultrastructural damage to adult and juvenile schistosomes, particularly, the worm tegument, musculature, gut, and vitelline glands of female worms are the key sites attacked by the drug; (5) combined treatment with mefloquine and praziquantel, or artemisinins shows synergistic effect against schistosome in experimental therapy,while in initially clinical trial, mefloquine in combination with artesunate also exhibits higher cure rates against schistosomiasis hematobia and schistosomiasis mansoni, and (6) several mefloquine-related arylmethanols exhibit potential effect against schistosomes in vivo, which is a useful clue helpful for development of new antischistosomal compound. In the present review, we have summarized the major results published in recent years, and the significance as well as the prospect for the future study of mefloquine have been discussed briefly.

Concepts: Parasites, Schistosomiasis, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma, Digenea, Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma japonicum, Strigeidida


Infectious diseases caused by chlamydia or schistosomes are a major health problem worldwide, and particularly so in developing countries. The lack of appropriate vaccines renders the search for potent natural products against these disease-causing agents an urgent endeavor. Sponge-associated actinomycetes represent a rich reservoir for natural products. Among them, members of the genus Streptomyces are capable of synthesizing an impressive array of diverse natural products with a wide variety of biological activities. The naphthacene glycoside SF2446A2 was isolated from the calcium alginate beads culture of Streptomyces sp. strain RV15 that had originally been obtained from the Mediterranean sponge Dysidea tupha. Its structure was identified by spectroscopic analysis and MS and comparison with the literature data. SF2446A2 showed inhibitory activity against Chlamydia trachomatis and was able to inhibit the primary infection in a dose-dependent manner, as well as progeny formation. Moreover, it caused disruptive effects on the surface area of Schistosoma mansoni and affected the gonads by impairing oogenesis and spermatogenesis. Our current study demonstrates that sponge-associated actinomycetes are capable of providing compounds with new pharmacological activities and with relevance to drug discovery.The Journal of Antibiotics advance online publication, 20 May 2015; doi:10.1038/ja.2015.54.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Infection, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma, Chlamydiae, Chlamydia, Chlamydia trachomatis, Streptomyces