, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 83-90
Date: 25 Dec 2011

Trichobilharzia regenti: Antigenic structures of intravertebrate stages

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Like several other bird schistosomes, neurotropic schistosome of Trichobilharzia regenti can invade also mammals, including humans. Repeated infections cause cercarial dermatitis, a skin inflammatory reaction leading to parasite elimination in non-specific mammalian hosts. However, in experimentally primo-infected mice, the worms escape from the skin and migrate to the central nervous system. In order to evade host immune reactions, schistosomes undergo cercaria/schistosomulum transformation accompanied with changes of surface antigens. The present study is focused on localization of the main antigens of T. regenti; cercariae, schistosomula developed under different conditions and adults were compared. Antigens were localized by immunofluorescence and ultrastructural immunocytochemistry using sera of mice repeatedly infected with T. regenti. Detected antibody targets were located in glycocalyx and penetration glands of cercariae and in tegument of cercariae, schistosomula and adults. Shedding of cercarial glycocalyx significantly reduced surface reactivity; further decrease was reported during ongoing development of schistosomula. Spherical bodies, probably transported from subtegumental cell bodies to worm surface, were identified as the most reactive tegumental structures. Based on similar results for schistosomula developed in specific, non-specific hosts and in vitro, it seems that the ability of T. regenti to decrease the surface immunoreactivity during ontogenesis is independent on the host type.