The tegument of the adult blood fluke Schistosoma japonicum is in direct contact with the host blood and immune systems. A comprehensive understanding of the ultrastructure of the tegument is crucial to the understanding of how the parasite maintains itself within the mammalian host. Important functions such as nutritional uptake and immune evasion are suspected functions of the tegument and this review discusses these aspects and presents some insights into some of these crucial functions. Transmission electron microscopy has allowed the identification of ultrastructural features of the adult S. japonicum, some of which differ from the reported features of other schistosome species. Morphological differences within the tegument of the adult S. japonicum are noted between sexes, among different regions of the worms and between aspects along the length of the parasite. Differences included variations in the ultrastructure, size and number of tegumental bodies and mitochondria within the matrix, and differences in the relative area of the apical surface of the tegument. Functions of the various components of the tegument matrix and specialised functions of different regions of the male and female parasites are discussed based on ultrastructural findings and previously reported biochemical and molecular data.
- Schistosoma japonicum
- Transmission electron microscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases