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Imaging schistosomes in vivo

By Greice Krautz-Peterson, David Ndegwa, Kristine Vasquez, Houari Korideck, Jun Zhang, Jeffrey D. Peterson and Patrick J. Skelly


Schistosomes are intravascular, parasitic helminths that cause a chronic, often debilitating disease afflicting over 200 million people in over 70 countries. Here we describe novel imaging methods that, for the first time, permit visualization of live schistosomes within their living hosts. The technology centers on fluorescent agent uptake and activation in the parasite’s gut, and subsequent detection and signal quantitation using fluorescence molecular tomography (FMT). There is a strong positive correlation between the signal detected and parasite number. Schistosoma mansoni parasites of both sexes recovered from infected experimental animals exhibit vivid fluorescence throughout their intestines. Likewise, the remaining important human schistosome parasites, S. japonicum and S. hematobium, also exhibit gut fluorescence when recovered from infected animals. Imaging has been used to efficiently document the decline in parasite numbers in infected mice treated with the antischistosome drug praziquantel. This technology will provide a unique opportunity both to help rapidly identify much-needed, novel antischistosome therapies and to gain direct visual insight into the intravascular lives of the major schistosome parasites of humans.—Krautz-Peterson, G., Ndegwa, D., Vasquez, K., Korideck, H., Zhang, J., Peterson, J. D., Skelly, P. J. Imaging schistosomes in vivo

Topics: Research Communications
Publisher: The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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