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1 December 2012 In Vitro Cercariae Transformation: Comparison of Mechanical and Nonmechanical Methods and Observation of Morphological Changes of Detached Cercariae Tails
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Abstract
Schistosomula, the larval stage of schistosomes in vertebrate hosts, are highly vulnerable and considered an ideal target for vaccine and drug development. Although the schistosomule stage is essential for biological studies, collecting sufficient numbers of schistosomula from their definitive hosts in vivo is difficult to accomplish. However, in vitro collection via cercariae transformation can effectively yield high numbers of schistosomula. We compared a current and widely used double-ended–needle mechanical transformation method to a culture medium based on a nonmechanical method. We found the rates of transformed cercariae, i.e., separated cercariae heads from tails, differed by only 2–7% at 0.5, 1, and 2 days in culture and that there was no significant difference in the number of transformed cercariae between the transformation methods at 3 and 4 days in culture. Notably, the mechanical and nonmechanical cercariae transformation methods both yielded significantly large and similar quantities of viable schistosomula. Given that the nonmechanical method is simpler and less damaging to the parasites, we recommend the use of it as an alternative way for in vitro cercariae transformation. In addition, we also observed morphological changes of the detached cercariae tails in culture medium. Interestingly, the tails are able to regenerate head-like organs/tissues and survive for at least 4 days. This intriguing change suggests unique biological features of the cells in the tails.
Kristen A. Coultas and Si-Ming Zhang "In Vitro Cercariae Transformation: Comparison of Mechanical and Nonmechanical Methods and Observation of Morphological Changes of Detached Cercariae Tails," Journal of Parasitology 98(6), (1 December 2012). https://doi.org/10.1645/GE-3072.1
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