Schistosomiasis is a chronic parasitic disease caused by sexually dimorphic blood flukes of the genus Schistosoma. Praziquantel (PZQ) is the only drug widely available to treat the disease but does not kill juvenile parasites. Here we report the use of next generation sequencing to study the transcriptional effect of PZQ on murine hepatic inflammatory, immune and fibrotic responses to Schistosoma mansoni worms and eggs. An initial T helper cell 1 (Th1) response is induced against schistosomes in mice treated with drug vehicle (Vh) around the time egg laying begins, followed by a T helper cell 2 (Th2) response and the induction of genes whose action leads to granuloma formation and fibrosis. When PZQ is administered at this time, there is a significant reduction in egg burden yet the hepatic Th1, Th2 and fibrotic responses are still observed in the absence of granuloma formation suggesting some degree of gene regulation may be induced by antigens released from the dying adult worms. Quantitative real-time PCR was used to examine the relative expression of 16 juvenile and adult S. mansoni genes during infection and their response to Vh and PZQ treatment in vivo. While the response of stress genes in adult parasites suggests the worms were alive immediately following exposure to PZQ, they were unable to induce transcription of any of the 9 genes encoding ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters tested. In contrast, juvenile schistosomes were able to significantly induce the activities of ABCB, C and G family members, underscoring the possibility that these efflux systems play a major role in drug resistance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases