Immunologic Research

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 93–97 | Cite as

Role of microRNAs in host defense against Echinococcus granulosus infection: a preliminary assessment

  • Mara MaricontiEmail author
  • Ambra Vola
  • Tommaso Manciulli
  • Francesca Genco
  • Raffaella Lissandrin
  • Valeria Meroni
  • Mara Rosenzvit
  • Francesca Tamarozzi
  • Enrico Brunetti
Original Article


Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a neglected helminthic zoonosis caused by the larval stage of the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus s.l. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are regulators of gene expression that have been linked with the pathogenesis of several human diseases, but little exists in the available literature about miRNAs in CE. Here, we investigate the expression profiles of 84 microRNAs relevant to the function of lymphocytes and other immune cells during CE infection in the peripheral blood of patients with cysts in active and inactive stages. We applied the microRNA PCR array technology to blood samples from 20 patients with a single hepatic CE cyst in either the active (CE3b) or inactive (CE4–CE5) stage. Our results show a significant upregulation of eight miRNAs (let-7g-5p, let-7a-5p, miR- 26a-5p, miR- 26b-5p, miR- 195-5p, miR- 16-5p, miR- 30c-5p, and miR- 223-3p) in patients with active cysts compared to those with inactive cysts. The high expression of these miRNAs in patients with active cysts suggests their role in a specific host immune response against the infection. Further work in this direction may help shed light on the pathogenesis of human CE.


MicroRNA Cystic echinococcosis Echinococcus granulosus Hydatidosis Zoonosis Neglected disease 



We thank Marcela Cucher (Universidad de Buenos Aires - IMPAM-UBA-CONICET), for critical evaluation and discussion of the manuscript.

Funding information

This study was partially supported by funds granted by the EU FP7 Project HERACLES n. 602051 (to E. Brunetti).

Compliance with ethical standards

All patients signed an informed consent form for storage and scientific use of the leftover serum at the moment of blood sampling for routine serology. This retrospective study was performed according to the guidelines of Institutional Review Board of San Matteo Hospital Foundation, Pavia, Italy, on the use of biological specimens for scientific purposes in keeping with Italian Law (art.13 D.L gs 196/2003). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication December/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mara Mariconti
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ambra Vola
    • 1
  • Tommaso Manciulli
    • 2
  • Francesca Genco
    • 3
  • Raffaella Lissandrin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Valeria Meroni
    • 3
    • 4
  • Mara Rosenzvit
    • 5
  • Francesca Tamarozzi
    • 6
  • Enrico Brunetti
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Unit of Infectious and Tropical DiseasesSan Matteo Hospital FoundationPaviaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Clinical, Surgical, Diagnostic and Pediatric SciencesUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology and VirologySan Matteo Hospital FoundationPaviaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Internal Medicine and Medical TherapyUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  5. 5.Instituto de Microbiología y Parasitología Médica, Universidad de Buenos Aires-Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas (IMPaM, UBA-CONICET)Facultad de MedicinaBuenos AiresArgentina
  6. 6.Centre for Tropical DiseasesIRCCS Sacro Cuore-Don Calabria HospitalVeronaItaly

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