Parasitology



Delayed tail loss during the invasion of human skin by schistosome cercariae


P. J. WHITFIELD a1c1, A. BARTLETT a1, N. KHAMMO a2, A. P. R. BRAIN a1, M. B. BROWN a1, C. MARRIOTT a1 and R. CLOTHIER a2
a1 School of Health and Life Sciences, King's College London, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN
a2 University of Nottingham, School of Biomedical Sciences, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH

Article author query
whitfield p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
bartlett a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
khammo n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
brain a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
brown m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
marriott c   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
clothier r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

Schistosomiasis is initiated when cercarial larvae invade human skin. Contrary to long-held assumptions, most cercariae of Schistosoma mansoni do not shed their propulsive tails as they penetrate. Scanning electron microscopy studies and infection experiments with entire human skin and differentiated, stratum corneum-like, human keratinocyte cultures, have shown that most cercarial tails enter the skin along with their bodies. We propose that this behaviour is an adaptive trait linked with concomitant immunity.

(Received July 19 2002)
(Revised September 27 2002)
(Accepted September 27 2002)


Key Words: Schistosoma mansoni; tail loss; cercariae; invasion; concomitant immunity.

Correspondence:
c1 School of Health and Life Sciences, King's College London, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN. Tel: +0207 848 4646. E-mail: phil.whitfield@kcl.ac.uk


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