Research Article

Further studies of Schistosoma mansoni cercarial stimulation by crude egg lecithin and other lipids*

F. Austin c1, P. Frappaolo c1, B. Gilbert c2, W. Landis c3, M. N. da Rosa c2 and M. Stirewalt c4

The stimulus provided to cercariae by the skin fat of their definitive hosts is not the same for Schistosoma mansoni and Austrobilharzia terrigalensis. Cercariae of the former parasite are stimulated by unsaturated fatty acids, those of the latter by cholesterol.

A reinvestigation of the penetration stimulant factors present in crude egg lecithin, which contains both cholesterol and free fatty acids as impurities, has shown that the latter are responsible for the stimulus in S. mansoni. The phospholipid fraction is inactive as is pure cholesterol. A little excitation of cercariae is produced by the monoglyceride fraction. These results fully confirm earlier findings.

Of surface active agents other than lecithin, stimulatory activity was found only in one product which possessed carboxyl groups. Of the C18 acids examined, stearic (18:0) is inactive, oleic (18:1) slightly active, linoleic (18:2) and linolenic (18:3) acids highly active. Oleic acid was shown by GC-mass spectrometry to be the most abundant acid in crude egg lecithin and is probably the main penetration stimulus present.

(Received June 24 1974)


c1 Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20014. Current address of F.A.: New York State Veterinary College, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14850.

c2 Instituto de Pesquisas da Marinha, Rua Ipiru, s/n°, Ilha do Governador, Rio de Janeiro ZC32, Brazil.

c3 Arthritis Metabolic and Digestive Diseases Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20014.

c4 Biomedical Research Institute, American Foundation for Biological Research, 12111 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Requests for reprints should be sent to M. Stirewalt.


* The opinions and assertions contained herein are those of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Navy Department or the Naval service at large.