Showing papers in "Parasitology in 1994"
TL;DR: The estimates presented here indicate that several tens of millions of children are likely to suffer developmental consequences from infection, and suggest that the global disease burden of geohelminthiasis may be significantly greater than was supposed.
Abstract: This paper presents a method of estimating the potential global morbidity due to human intestinal nematode infections (Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworms), based on the observed prevalence of infection. The method relies on the observed relationships between prevalence and intensity of infection, and between worm burden and potential morbidity. This approach is shown to be sensitive to the precision of the original prevalence estimates and, in particular, to the degree of spatial heterogeneity in levels of infection. The estimates presented here indicate that several tens of millions of children are likely to suffer developmental consequences from infection, and suggest that the global disease burden of geohelminthiasis may be significantly greater than was supposed.
TL;DR: It is concluded that H. bacteriophora, H. megidis, S. anomali and S. glaseri cruise to find hosts, whereas S. scapterisci ambush hosts are intermediary in the search continuum sharing some characteristics of both ambush and cruise foragers.
Abstract: Foraging strategies of eight species of entomopathogenic nematodes were predicted from their response to host volatile cues and dispersal behaviour on 2-dimensional substrates. Positive directional response to chemical cues and similar distances travelled on smooth (agar) or nictation substrates (agar overlaid with sand grains) by Heterorhabditis bacterio-phora, Heterorhabditis megidis, Steinernema anomali, and Steinernema glaseri suggest their cruising approach to finding hosts. The absence of directional response and less distance travelled on nictation substrate, than on smooth agar by Steinernema carpocapsae and Steinernema scapterisci suggest their ambushing mode of foraging. Steinernema feltiae and Steinernema sp. responded directionally to host volatiles, but travelled less distance on the nictation substrate than on smooth agar; the two species also did not nictate. The cruiser species located hosts more effectively in the sand columns, whereas the ambushers were more effective at finding hosts on filter paper. Steinernema feltiae and Steinernema sp. performed equally on filter paper and in the sand column. We conclude that H. bacteriophora, H. megidis, S. anomali and S. glaseri cruise to find hosts, whereas S. carpocapsae and S. scapterisci ambush hosts. Steinernema feltiae and Steinernema sp. are intermediary in the search continuum sharing some characteristics of both ambush and cruise foragers.
TL;DR: This evolutionary analysis indicates that ecological and life history variables may have played an important role in the evolution of manipulation of host behaviour by parasites.
Abstract: Parasite-induced modifications of host behaviour are known from a wide range of host-parasite associations. In many cases, these behavioural changes are thought to be adaptive and benefit the parasite by increasing its probability of successful transmission. However, in many cases, energy spent on host manipulation will not be available for other functions, such as growth. These trade-offs suggest that in the absence of other constraints, natural selection will optimize, and not maximize, the influence of parasites on host behaviour. This argument is developed and expanded into theoretical considerations of the evolution of host behaviour manipulation by parasites. Among populations of the same parasite species or among closely-related species, the optimal investment into manipulation, or optimal manipulative effort (ME*), of individual parasites is predicted to increase as (1) typical infrapopulation size decreases, (2) prevalence increases, (3) the longevity of the infected host, or of the parasite in its host, decreases, (4) passive transmission rates decrease, and (5) parasite fecundity decreases. This evolutionary analysis indicates that ecological and life history variables may have played an important role in the evolution of manipulation of host behaviour by parasites.
TL;DR: The frequency of heterozygous forms showed that random mating events probably occurred within mosquito bloodmeals between gametes belonging to different parasite clones, showing that crossing between clones was taking place frequently, following uptake of mixtures of gametocytes by the mosquitoes.
Abstract: The genetic structure of a population of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum has been examined in a village in Tanzania. Seventeen alleles of the merozoite surface protein MSP-1 and 23 of MSP-2 were detected by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) among the blood parasites of the inhabitants. Most infections contained mixtures of genetically distinct parasite clones. PCR was then used to examine individual P. falciparum oocysts, the products of fertilization events, in wild-caught mosquitoes. Forty-five out of 71 oocysts were heterozygous for one or both genes, showing that crossing between clones was taking place frequently, following uptake of mixtures of gametocytes by the mosquitoes. The frequency of heterozygous forms showed that random mating events probably occurred within mosquito bloodmeals between gametes belonging to different parasite clones.
TL;DR: The parsimony and maximum likelihood trees suggest that the babesias and theilerias are sister taxa, both of which were derived from the paraphyletic group.
Abstract: Small subunit ribosomal RNA (srRNA) genes of three Theileria species, one Cytauxzoon and four Babesia species were amplified using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), cloned and sequenced. Our sequences were aligned with srRNA sequences previously published for eight species of Apicomplexa, one ciliate and one dinoflagellate, the last two being included as free-living outgroup species. Phylogenetic relationships between the organisms were inferred by four in-dependent methods of phylogenetic tree construction using the ciliate Oxytricha nova to root the trees. Our trees fail to show a consensus branching order. They do, however, clearly indicate that the theilerias form a monophyletic taxon derived from a paraphyletic group which includes the species B. equi, C. felis and B. rodhaini. The distance trees indicate that the babesias sensu stricto (B. canis, B. caballi, B. bigemina and B. bovis) form another monophyletic taxon which diverged before the theilerias separated from the above-mentioned paraphyletic group. The parsimony and maximum likelihood trees suggest that the babesias and theilerias are sister taxa, both of which were derived from the paraphyletic group.
TL;DR: Cercariae, like miracidia, are non-parasitic larval stages implicated in the life cycle of all trematodes for the host-to-host parasite transmission.
Abstract: Cercariae, like miracidia, are non-parasitic larval stages implicated in the life cycle of all trematodes for the host-to-host parasite transmission. Almost all cercariae are free-living in the external environment. With a few exceptions (cercariae of Halipegus occidualis (Halipegidae) can live several months, Shostak & Esch, 1990a), cercariae have a short active life during which they do not feed, living on accumulated reserves. Most cercariae encyst as metacercariae in second intermediate hosts which are prey of the definitive host; in certain species, the interruption of the active life is achieved by an encystment in the external environment (or a simple immobile waiting strategy in a few species). In some two-host life cycles, the cercariae develop into adults after penetration (this is the case for various species causing human schistosomiasis). Some cercariae do not leave the mollusc which must then be ingested by the definitive host.
TL;DR: It is suggested that differences between infected and uninfected wild rats arise from pathological changes caused by Toxoplasma cysts in the brains of infected rats, which may render T Oxoplasma-infected rats more susceptible to predation by domestic cats and, as a side-effect, more vulnerable to trapping and poisoning during post control programmes.
Abstract: The effect of Toxoplasma gondii on neophobic behaviour (the avoidance of novel stimuli) was assessed in four groups of wild rats with naturally occurring Toxoplasma infection. Two groups were placed in individual cages and tested in a series of experiments which examined the effect of Toxoplasma on the rat's reaction to 3 food-related novel stimuli (odour, food- container, food). A trappability study was performed on the other two groups to test whether Toxoplasma had an effect on probability of capture. The results show that low neophobia was significantly associated with positive Toxoplasma titres in 3 out of 4 groups. We suggest that differences between infected and uninfected wild rats arise from pathological changes caused by Toxoplasma cysts in the brains of infected rats. Such behavioural changes may be selectively advantageous for the parasite as they may render Toxoplasma-infected rats more susceptible to predation by domestic cats (the definitive host of Toxoplasma) and, as a side-effect, more susceptible to trapping and poisoning during pest control programmes.
TL;DR: A complete developmental sequence of Leishmania mexicana has been produced in axenic culture for the first time by manipulation of media, pH and temperature conditions over a period of 16 days and demonstrated that the three main stages identified--amastigotes, multiplicative promastIGotes and metacyclic promastigote--each exhibited the expected suite of biochemical properties.
Abstract: A complete developmental sequence of Leishmania mexicana has been produced in axenic culture for the first time. This was achieved by manipulation of media, pH and temperature conditions over a period of 16 days. All experiments were initiated with lesion amastigotes that were transformed to multiplicative promastigotes by culture in HOMEM, 10% foetal calf serum, pH 7.5, at 25 degrees C. Metacyclogenesis was induced by subpassage in Schneider's Drosophila medium, 20% foetal calf serum, pH 5.5, and the resulting forms transformed to axenically growing amastigotes by subpassage in the same medium and raising the temperature to 32 degrees C. Parasites from each day were characterized with respect to their general morphology using light microscopy of Giemsa-stained smears, and biochemically by analysis of total protein content, proteinases, nucleases and secretory acid phosphatase. The results demonstrated that the three main stages identified--amastigotes, multiplicative promastigotes and metacyclic promastigotes--each exhibited the expected suite of biochemical properties. Further, the changes in morphology observed as the developmental sequence proceeded from stage to stage were accompanied by appropriate changes in biochemical properties. These results provide both useful biochemical markers and a culture system in which to examine the regulation of differentiation and transformation during the Leishmania life-cycle.
TL;DR: There is evidence for the importance of facilitation of mating in microhabitat restriction, and the availability of many vacant niches indicates that competition, overall, is not of great importance, according to Hutchinson's (1957) definition of an ecological niche.
Abstract: Hutchinson's (1957) definition of an ecological niche as a multidimensional hypervolume determined by a number of physical and biotic variables is adopted. The number of niche dimensions is very great, but as a working hypothesis it is assumed that a few are sufficient to characterize the niche of a parasite species to a high degree of accuracy. They are host species, microhabitat(s), macrohabitat(s), geographical range, sex and age of host, season, food and hyperparasites. Methods to measure niche width, in particular specificity indices, are discussed, and some examples of niche restriction are described. Proximate and ultimate causes of niche restriction are discussed, mainly using marine parasites as examples. Among proximate causes of one niche dimension, host specificity, are ecological factors restricting exposure to infection to certain host species; host-specific chemical factors that induce hatching, direct infective stages to a host and bring about settlement of a parasite; factors that lead to mortality in or on the wrong host; morphological adaptations that guarantee survival in or on the 'correct' host; and availability of suitable hosts. Many factors are likely to be responsible for microhabitat specificity, but have been little studied, except for some physiological and morphological adaptations to particular microhabitats. Macrohabitats and geographical range may be determined by the distribution of intermediate hosts and certain food items, and by a variety of chemical and physical factors. Hosts of different sexes may differ in feeding habits and the composition of the skin, and thus acquire parasites differentially. Hosts of different age may be differentially infected due to accumulation of parasites with age, loss of parasites due to developing resistance (or immunity), and different size and feeding habits. Among ultimate causes of niche restriction and segregation are avoidance of competition, predation and hyperparasites; facilitation of mating; reinforcement of reproductive barriers; and adaptations to environmental complexity. Few studies permit a decision on which factor or factors are responsible in particular cases. Interspecific competition may play a greater role in helminth communities of some host groups than of others, but it seems that, overall, its role has been exaggerated at least for marine parasites. Some 'classical' examples of microhabitat segregation explained by interspecific competition can also be explained by reinforcement of reproductive barriers. There is evidence for the importance of facilitation of mating in microhabitat restriction, and the availability of many vacant niches indicates that competition, overall, is not of great importance.
TL;DR: The interplay between host defensive strategies, the cost versus the effectiveness of such Strategies, and a parasite's evasion or exploitation of such strategies, may be useful in understanding some aspects of host-parasite dynamics in nature.
Abstract: Behavioural patterns involved in avoiding, repelling, or removing parasites allow mammalian hosts to defend themselves from an array of parasites that threaten the host's fitness in the natural world. Some examples of behavioural defenses and the presumed target parasites are: grooming to remove ticks, grouping to reduce attack rate of biting flies, fly repelling movements to reduce parasitic flies, and selective grazing to reduce intake of faecal-borne parasites. These behavioural defenses are discussed with regard to effectiveness in controlling the target parasites. Parasites have sometimes evolved behavioural strategies of evading, penetrating or disabling these behavioural defenses. These parasite behavioural strategies, though less studied, are discussed. Also discussed is the possibility that host behavioural patterns that may defend against one parasite may be exploited by a different type of parasite to facilitate its own transmission. The interplay between host defensive strategies, the cost versus the effectiveness of such strategies, and a parasite's evasion or exploitation of such strategies, may be useful in understanding some aspects of host-parasite dynamics in nature.
TL;DR: Based on its unique ND1 sequence and ITS1 PCR-RFLP pattern, the cervid strain appears to represent a distinct genotype (designated G8) of E. granulosus.
Abstract: We have used a number of molecular genetic approaches to characterize the cervid strain ('northern form') of Echinococcus granulosus. PCR-RFLP analysis of the nuclear ITS1 region of the rDNA repeat can readily distinguish the cervid form from other strains of E. granulosus. The complexity of the RFLP patterns obtained suggests that a number of distinct ITS1 types are present in this strain which may represent an inter-strain E. granulosus hybrid. Mitochondrial CO1 sequence of the cervid genotype was ambiguous at 18 positions and closely resembles a cluster of previously characterized E. granulosus genotypes, G1 (common, domestic sheep)/G2 (Tasmanian sheep)/G3 (buffalo). In contrast, mitochondrial ND1 sequence, although unique, suggests that the cervid form is most similar to strains represented by the G6 (camel)/G7 (pig) genotypes. We assume that the CO1 and ND1 sequences obtained for the cervid genotype are linked in a single mitochondrial genome although this is difficult to explain if conventional molecular genetics of mitochondrial DNA are assumed. Based on its unique ND1 sequence and ITS1 PCR-RFLP pattern, the cervid strain appears to represent a distinct genotype (designated G8) of E. granulosus.
TL;DR: How specificity patterns are shaped during the course of parasite evolution is considered, which suggests that parasites may act as host generalists in hosts that act as trophic channels to the final host.
Abstract: This article considers how specificity patterns are shaped during the course of parasite evolution. Parasites are first and foremost specific to site, or microhabitat; host ranges are far more subject to change than is microhabitat. Specificity results from a number of convergent phenomena starting with habits (microhabitat and feeding styles) of free-living progenitors and the way in which the parasitic association arises (e.g., passive oral contamination as opposed to intrusive entry). These bias the types of interaction parasites have with the host, and, through this, the way specificity develops. Host ecology acts as an external factor affecting specificity and predominates in parasites that interact minimally with the hosts physiological and immune systems. Coevolutionary factors are more important in parasites that feed on host tissues or occur in extraintestinal sites. Here, parasites must present the right cues, and respond appropriately to the host defense system. The ability to generalize these cues and responses across host boundaries may act as a constraint on host range. The functional role of the host in the parasite life history also affects the degree of specificity; thus, parasites may act as host generalists in hosts that act as trophic channels to the final host. The role of competition in determining specificity is difficult to assess. However, competition has been reported to influence microhabitat and host distribution through interactive site selection and/or competitive seclusion.
TL;DR: The change of scale in analysis has enabled the recognition of generalizations and patterns of heuristic value and improved the understanding of unpredictable communities by interpreting local variation as ecological 'noise' that often obscures fundamental patterns.
Abstract: Problems of pattern and scale are considered in relation to helminth communities of freshwater fish by examining them at different hierarchical taxonomic and spatial scales, with a view to seeking generalizations of heuristic value, assessing the importance of phylogenetic and ecological determinants of community structure and improving understanding of unpredictable communities. Initially, communities were analysed at the level of salmonid genera, focusing on Oncorhynchus, in its heartland in Canada: then in O. mykiss throughout its global range and finally in individual localities to which it has been introduced in Britain. In the heartland, communities are dominated by salmonid specialist helminths, forming a phylogenetic element: the minority ecological element comprises broad generalists and non-salmonid specialists. Most species except generic specialists are shared between host genera. As the distance to which O. mykiss was translocated from its heartland increases, so generic specialists disappear first and then salmonid specialists decline. The community is thus increasingly composed of generalists and it also becomes increasingly poor. Helminths may be acquired from native salmonids and/or unrelated hosts, depending on availability. This same pattern is paralleled in individual localities in a restricted region: the phylogenetic element reflects the native salmonid species present and the ecological element the presence of other genera of fish, i.e. a supply-side situation. The change of scale in analysis has thus enabled the recognition of generalizations and patterns of heuristic value and improved the understanding of unpredictable communities by interpreting local variation as ecological ‘noise’ that often obscures fundamental patterns. In this and other taxa of fish, phylogenetic elements dominate helminth communities in the heartlands, but ecological elements dominate as the host increasingly becomes a stranger in a strange land.
TL;DR: This study shows that the indirect life-cycle parasite T. gondii can influence the activity of its intermediate host the rat, and suggests that this may facilitate its transmission to the cat definitive host.
Abstract: Using both correlational and experimental evidence, the relationship between parasite load and host activity was assessed in brown rats, Rattus norvegicus. Two hypotheses were tested – (1) that parasites with indirect life-cycles, involving transmission between a prey and its predator, will alter the activity of the intermediate host so as to increase its susceptibility to predation by the definitive host and (2) that activity levels in parasitized rats would be increased rather than decreased. Four groups of rats (n = 140) were examined. One group (n = 50) were wild brown rats trapped from 3 UK farmsteads, with naturally occurring parasites. The others were purpose-bred wild/laboratory hybrid rats with experimentally induced parasitic infections of either (n = 15) adult-acquired or (n = 15) congenitally-acquired Toxoplasma gondii (an indirect life-cycle parasite), or (n = 15) Syphacia muris (a direct life-cycle parasite). Uninfected hybrid rats (n = 45), matched for sex, age and weight, served as controls. Rats were housed individually in outdoor cages, and their activities were recorded on video-tapes for 6 non-consecutive 10 h nights. Exercise wheels were also available for the hybrid rats. Out of 6 parasite species detected in the wild rats, T. gondii was the only one which required predation by a definitive host to complete its life-cycle, and was also the only parasite to be associated with higher activity levels in infected than uninfected rats. Hybrid rats infected with T. gondii were also more active than those uninfected, whereas there were no differences in activity levels between S. muris infected and uninfected rats. This study shows that the indirect life-cycle parasite T. gondii can influence the activity of its intermediate host the rat. I suggest that this may facilitate its transmission to the cat definitive host.
TL;DR: Physiological analyses of the behaviour of several cercarial species which actively find and invade their hosts have revealed very complex sequences of behaviour patterns and responses to very different stimuli from the environment and the host.
Abstract: Physiological analyses of the behaviour of several cercarial species which actively find and invade their hosts have revealed very complex sequences of behaviour patterns and responses to very different stimuli from the environment and the host. A result of these physiological studies is that the behaviour patterns of each of the species investigated are surprisingly individual. The behavioural patterns of host-finding of those species analysed in some detail reveal profound adaptations to maximize transmission success. This can be demonstrated for movement patterns during swimming, for responses to environmental conditions such as gravity, light and temperature, for responses to stimuli emanating from the host such as shadows, water turbulence and chemical compounds and especially for the responses after contact with the host. The behaviour patterns can be interpreted as adaptations to: (1) dispersal by leaving the habitat of the snail intermediate host and distribution within the area; (2) long survival by energy saving swimming behaviour, by avoiding responses to inappropriate stimuli, by selecting favourable microhabitats and probably by avoiding predation; (3) finding and invading particular host types by selecting microhabitats frequented by the hosts and responding to sequences of specific stimuli emanating from the hosts.
TL;DR: The high relative concentration of IgG in tick saliva at later stages of feeding suggests that the tick may have a mechanism for getting rid of foreign proteins via the salivary gland, and this mechanism may be a part of the tick self-defence system.
Abstract: Host immunoglobulin G (IgG) crossed the gut wall into the haemocoel of adult Rhipicephalus appendiculatus female ticks when they fed on guinea-pigs. Guinea-pig IgG was also found in saliva of the feeding ticks. The concentration and antibody activity of IgG in haemolymph, salivary gland extract (SGE) and saliva at different stages of tick feeding were detected by enzyme-linked immunoassay. Specific activity of the IgG in tick samples was determined by feeding ticks on guinea-pigs which were immunized with killed Escherichia coli: 35-42% of the antibody activity in guinea-pig immune serum remained in the tick samples. The high relative concentration of IgG in tick saliva at later stages of feeding suggests that the tick may have a mechanism for getting rid of foreign proteins via the salivary gland. Such a mechanism could involve IgG binding proteins (IGBPs) which were found in both haemolymph and SGE of female ticks at day 6 of feeding using a guinea-pig IgG-agarose affinity column. In female ticks, the M(r) of IGBPs in SGE (23 and 57 kDa) were less than those in haemolymph (78 and > 100 kDa). The existence of IGBPs in both the tick salivary gland and haemolymph indicate that haemolymph and salivary gland cooperate to remove foreign proteins, e.g. host immunoglobulin, from the body during feeding. This mechanism may be a part of the tick self-defence system.
TL;DR: A method was developed, which enables substances to be injected into the feeding structure (syncytium) established by Heterodera schachtii in roots of Arabidopsis thaliana, to study the uptake if nutrients by the feeding nematode.
Abstract: A method was developed, which enables substances to be injected into the feeding structure (syncytium) established by Heterodera schachtii in roots of Arabidopsis thaliana. The technique was used to study the uptake of nutrients by the feeding nematode. The fluorescent dye lucifer yellow CH (LYCH) and fluorescence-labelled dextrans of different molecular weights were injected into the thin and translucent roots of A. thaliana. Such roots are a feature of this plant and they provide optimal conditions for microinjection. Injected LYCH was taken up by feeding juveniles and adults, indicated by the staining of the alimentary duct and the digestive system. Fluorescent dextrans of 3, 10 and 20 kDa but not of 40 and 70 kDa were ingested, suggesting that molecules of a maximum Stokes radius of 3·2 to 4·4 nm are taken up. It is likely that the feeding tube, forming the interface between the plant cytosol and the nematode's digestive system, is responsible for this size exclusion effect. The injected fluorescent substances were not detected in plant cells adjacent to the syncytium or in the root vascular elements. Injections into parts of roots which were infested by several nematodes revealed that feeding H. schachtii individuals may share one syncytium.
TL;DR: This work addresses how parasite-host physiological and behavioural interactions may be altered during the course of parasitism, and considers the adaptiveness of these responses and how the behavioural patterns elicited may simultaneously appear adaptive for the parasite as well as the host.
Abstract: Parasitism is defined in various ways as an intimate relationship in which one partner, the parasite, lives on or in another, the host, generally at the expense of the latter. Parasitism commonly results in a unique array of host physiological responses and adaptations. Most studies of the physiological effects of parasitism have focused on the pathological consequence of infection and disease. While many physiological changes contribute to pathogenesis, it is now recognized that parasitic infections at sub-clinical levels also produce physiological effects that either ameliorate or may not contribute to the disease process. Moreover, these physiological changes are often manifested by altered host behaviour. Behavioural studies have enabled an ecological- and evolutionary-oriented evaluation of host responses. In this fashion, physiological effects may be assessed as to whether they affect fitness and confer benefit or harm to one or both of the symbionts involved. We briefly examine how these physiological responses, specifically neural, endocrine, neuromodulatory, and immunomodulatory components, may interact to modify host behaviours. We consider the adaptiveness of these responses and how the behavioural patterns elicited may simultaneously appear adaptive for the parasite as well as the host. In addition, we address how parasite-host physiological and behavioural interactions may be altered during the course of parasitism.
TL;DR: The data here support the occurrence of genetic exchange between the cattle stocks while an 'epidemic' population structure involving limited genetic exchange is a characteristic of the human infective stocks.
Abstract: This study represents an analysis of trypanosome strains circulating within a confined location over a short period of time during a sleeping sickness epidemic in S.E. Uganda. A large number of Trypanosoma brucei isolates (88) were collected from a variety of hosts (man, cattle, pigs and tsetse) from villages within a 10 km radius and were analysed for variation in isoenzyme patterns, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) in repetitive DNA sequences and susceptibility to human serum. The human infective stocks form a clearly distinguishable population when compared with other stocks circulating in the domestic cattle reservoir. The data here support the occurrence of genetic exchange between the cattle stocks while an 'epidemic' population structure involving limited genetic exchange is a characteristic of the human infective stocks. Furthermore, it is shown that when both RFLP and isoenzyme analysis are carried out most stocks appear to have individual genotypes. Stocks which were formerly grouped as zymodemes are better considered as a collected of distinct individuals.
TL;DR: Observations provide strong evidence for sexual reproduction in New World Leishmania populations and suggest that it is of taxonomic and epidemiological significance.
Abstract: As part of a survey of human leishmaniasis in Nicaragua we examined phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of 40 Leishmania isolates. We identified 3 distinct parasites associated with cutaneous disease in this area; Leishmania panamensis (40% of cases), Leishmania braziliensis (33%), and a strain which exhibits the heterozygous isoenzyme and DNA fingerprinting patterns expected of a L. panamensis/L. braziliensis hybrid (27%). There was complete correlation between the isoenzyme and DNA data for each of the putative hybrids examined. All of the 'hybrids' were obtained from foci in the northern region of the country where L. panamensis and L. braziliensis occur sympatrically. These observations provide strong evidence for sexual reproduction in New World Leishmania populations and suggest that it is of taxonomic and epidemiological significance.
TL;DR: Cell surface molecules transduce signals across the cell membrane, relaying information inwards and presenting altered characteristics to the exterior as the environment changes.
Abstract: Cell surface molecules have received intense attention in recent years because of the central roles they play at the interface between the external environment and the cellular interior. Their functions include adhesion to other cells or extracellular matrices, protection against hostile physical, chemical and biological agents and the transport of metabolites into and out of the cell. In addition, cell surface molecules transduce signals across the cell membrane, relaying information inwards and presenting altered characteristics to the exterior as the environment changes.
TL;DR: In combination with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the protocols revealed trypanosomes in buffy-coat samples from antigenaemic but aparasitaemic cattle and in the saliva of live, infected tsetse flies.
Abstract: Relatively simple protocols employing non-radioactive DNA probes have been used for the detection of African trypanosomes in the blood of mammalian hosts and the saliva of live tsetse flies. In combination with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the protocols revealed trypanosomes in buffy-coat samples from antigenaemic but aparasitaemic cattle and in the saliva of live, infected tsetse flies. Furthermore, the protocols were used to demonstrate concurrent natural infections of single tsetse flies with different species of African trypanosomes.
TL;DR: Cross-reacting epitopes are the main cause of the lack of specificity of an E/S material-based ELISA that can differentiate Haemonchus infections from Nematodirus battus infections, but not from Ostertagia circumcincta or Trichostrongylus colubriformis infections.
Abstract: The excretory/secretory (E/S) products of adult Haemonchus contortus comprise of at least 15 polypeptides with molecular weights ranging from 10 to > 100 kDa. These E/S products induce an immune response in infected Texel sheep, as demonstrated by specific IgG1 levels and a significant lymphocyte proliferation index. Moreover, immunoblotting analysis revealed that sera of primary H. contortus-infected sheep specifically recognize a 24 kDa E/S product. In addition, sera of challenged sheep react strongly with a 15 kDa E/S product. The other E/S products of H. contortus showed immunoreactivity with serum samples of Haemonchus-infected sheep as well as with samples of sheep harbouring other trichostrongylid infections. These cross-reacting epitopes are the main cause of the lack of specificity of an E/S material-based ELISA. This ELISA can differentiate Haemonchus infections from Nematodirus battus infections, but not from Ostertagia circumcincta or Trichostrongylus colubriformis infections.
TL;DR: The polymerase chain reaction was used to produce a 556 bp nucleotide stretch, employing primers based on the published sequence of the 18S rRNA genes in Cryptosporidium parvum and C. muris, which found to contain 3 Mae I endonuclease restriction sites, 1 of which was present only in C.Parvum.
Abstract: The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to produce a 556 bp nucleotide stretch, employing primers based on the published sequence of the 18S rRNA genes in Cryptosporidium parvum and C. muris. This sequence was found to contain 3 Mae I endonuclease restriction sites, 1 of which was present only in C. parvum. Mae I restriction of PCR products from 2 C. parvum isolates (one of human origin and the other of bovine origin), 1 C. muris isolate, and 1 C. baileyi isolate, showed a specific and reproducible profile for C. parvum that was different from the one obtained for both C. muris and C. baileyi. From these data, new Mae I restriction maps were proposed for the three species. The system was then used to screen 6 C. parvum isolates (from human and bovine hosts), and the C. parvum-specific profile was obtained for all isolates examined. It should be possible to adapt this protocol to detect small numbers of C. parvum oocysts in environmental samples (e.g. in water supplies).
TL;DR: This is one of the few studies that evaluates the effect of a parasite on a population of fish in the field and shows that parasites significantly depressed growth, reproduction, and survivorship.
Abstract: Field and laboratory investigations into the effect of the parasitic isopod Anilocra pomacentri (Cymothoidae) on the population dynamics of the reef fish Chromis nitida (Pomacentridae) were carried out at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Fish carried a single adult parasite just posterior and dorsal to the eye either to the right or to the left of the rnidline. The adult parasite was overdispersed among fish on patch reefs (dispersion factor, k = 0.69). Sequential field observations on a single cohort of fish showed that parasites significantly depressed growth, reproduction, and survivorship. The von Bertalanffy growth coefficients (a measure of somatic growth) were 0–10 for parasitized fish compared with 0.17 for non-parasitized fish. Female fish carrying the parasite produced only 12% of the number of eggs produced by non-parasitized fish of the same size. In the field, the mortality of infected juvenile C. nitida (LCF 15–30 mm) was estimated to be at least 88% in the first 70 days after recruitment of the fish. The mortality of uninfected recruits over the same period was 66 %. In laboratory trials, the mortality associated with the infection of juvenile fish by larval parasites ranged from 78% for small fish (mean LCF 15.0 mm) to 28% for larger fish (mean LCF 24–9 mm) within 4 days of experimental infection. This is one of the few studies that evaluates the effect of a parasite on a population of fish in the field.
TL;DR: It is concluded that wild rats represent a significant and persistent wildlife intermediate host reservoir for toxoplasmosis and that the congenital route is the predominant route of transmission in wild rats.
Abstract: Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii within 6 UK farmstead wild rat populations, and 1 population maintained within a captive cat-free environment for 2.5 years, was examined. The mean prevalence found was 35% (n = 235), which is more than 3 times as high as all other wild rat prevalence levels previously reported in the UK. There were no significant age, sex or site differences in prevalence between or within populations irrespective of habitat type or presence of cats. Toxoplasma was also maintained within the captive rat population in the absence of cats at a prevalence, intensity, age and sex distribution similar to that of the farmstead rat populations. These results suggest, firstly, that Toxoplasma can be perpetuated within wild rat populations without the sympatric presence of cats and secondly, that the congenital route is the predominant route of transmission in wild rats. This study concludes that wild rats represent a significant and persistent wildlife intermediate host reservoir for toxoplasmosis.
TL;DR: Results confirm TCBZ as a potent fasciolicide, being very effective in disrupting the fluke tegument, and may go some way to explain the mode of action of this important fasCIolicide.
Abstract: The effects of the novel benzimidazole, triclabendazole (TCBZ) ('Fasinex', Ciba-Geigy), in its active sulphoxide metabolite form (TCBZ-SX), on the tegumental ultrastructure of Fasciola hepatica were determined in vitro by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), using both intact flukes and tissue-slice material. At a concentration of 15 micrograms/ml, the tegument of the whole adult fluke showed ultrastructural changes only after prolonged time-periods, with vacuolation at the base of the syncytium and accumulation of T2 secretory bodies in the tegumental cells. At a concentration of 50 micrograms/ml, with both whole flukes and tissue-slices, the tegument appeared extremely abnormal with accumulation of secretory bodies towards the base of the syncytium. With longer incubation times, the tegument was completely sloughed away and the tegumental cells became synthetically inactive. The tegument of the 3-week-old juvenile became progressively convoluted at the apex, while in the basal regions there was severe vacuolation. In the tegumental cells, there were accumulations of T1 secretory bodies. These results confirm TCBZ as a potent fasciolicide, being very effective in disrupting the fluke tegument. They may go some way to explain the mode of action of this important fasciolicide.
TL;DR: The results concur with earlier findings suggesting differences between high- and low-ranking mice in their physiological responses to social experience and consequently reduced resistance to B. microti infection among high-ranking individuals.
Abstract: Associations between social rank, immunodepression and resistance to Babesia microti infection within single-sex groups of male house mice suggest rank-dependent suites of response involving different hormonal and immune changes in relation to aggressive behaviour and group size prior to infection. Reduced resistance among high-ranking males was associated with increased serum testosterone and corticosterone concentration and reduced serum immunoglobulin, but was independent of group size. Among low-ranking males, hormonal changes were not associated with resistance to B. microti but changes in corticosterone concentration and measures of immunodepression increased with group size and aggressive behaviour. The results concur with earlier findings suggesting differences between high- and low-ranking mice in their physiological responses to social experience and consequently reduced resistance to B. microti infection among high-ranking individuals.
TL;DR: The maximum prevalence of parasitaemia in the community was in children aged 5-9 years, and the maximum age-specific incidence of attributable cases at the outpatient clinic was 2 cases per annum in the 2- to 4-year-old age group.
Abstract: A total of 736 outpatients diagnosed as having malaria using clinical criteria at a health centre in a highly endemic area of Papua New Guinea were investigated parasitologically. Plasmodium falciparum-attributable fractions were determined using a logistic regression model to compare parasite densities in cases with those of healthy individuals in community surveys. Thirty-seven percent of presumptive cases were found to have raised P. falciparum parasitaemia. This corresponds to an average reporting rate for the population of 0·53 attributable episodes per annum. Whilst the maximum prevalence of parasitaemia in the community was in children aged 5–9 years, the maximum age-specific incidence of attributable cases at the outpatient clinic was 2 cases per annum in the 2- to 4-year-old age group. The procedure for estimating attributable fractions makes it possible to compare morbidity rates between age groups, and to examine how the relationship between morbidity risk and parasite density changes with age, without diagnosing individual episodes. The average tolerance of parasites in an age group was measured by considering the level of parasitaemia associated with a given risk of malaria-attributable morbidity. In contrast to anti-parasite immunity, tolerance of parasites declines with age since at parasite isodensity the probability of being symptomatic increases with age.
TL;DR: It was concluded that reproduction in the parasitic female of S. ratti is functionally mitotic, and progeny of parasitic females that were heterozygous at an actin locus for evidence of allelic segregation showed that segregation had not occurred.
Abstract: Strongyloides ratti has a complex life-cycle with two adult generations, one free-living and dioecious and one parasitic and female only. The parasitic females reproduce by parthenogenesis, but it is unclear whether this is mitotic or meiotic in nature. This question has been addressed genetically by analysing the progeny of parasitic females that were heterozygous at an actin locus for evidence of allelic segregation. Such progeny were similarly heterozygous showing that segregation had not occurred. It was therefore concluded that reproduction in the parasitic female of S. ratti is functionally mitotic.