Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 101 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<B>A message from the Patron</B>]]> <![CDATA[<B>Twenty years of the Schistosomiasis Programme at Fiocruz</B>]]> <![CDATA[<B>Schistosome vaccines</B>: <B>a critical appraisal</B>]]> An effective schistosome vaccine is a desirable control tool but progress towards that goal has been slow. Protective immunity has been difficult to demonstrate in humans, particularly children, so no routes to a vaccine have emerged from that source. The concept of concomitant immunity appeared to offer a paradigm for a vaccine operating against incoming larvae in the skin but did not yield the expected dividends. The mining of crude parasite extracts, the use of monoclonal antibodies and protein selection based on immunogenicity produced a panel of vaccine candidates, mostly of cytoplasmic origin. However, none of these performed well in independent rodent trials, but glutathione-S-transferease from Schistosoma haematobium is currently undergoing clinical trials as an anti-fecundity vaccine. The sequencing of the S. mansoni transcriptome and genome and the development of proteomic and microarray technologies has dramatically improved the possibilities for identifying novel vaccine candidates, particularly proteins secreted from or exposed at the surface of schistosomula and adult worms. These discoveries are leading to a new round of protein expression and protection experiments that will enable us to evaluate systematically all the major targets available for immune intervention. Only then will we know if schistosomes have an Achilles' heel. <![CDATA[<B>The Afro-American Biomphalariae</B>]]> The reports on the occurrence of African planorbids in South America and of South American species in Africa and Asia are reviewed. <![CDATA[<B>Low transmission areas of schistosomiasis in Venezuela</B>: <B>consequences on the diagnosis, treatment, and control</B>]]> Schistosomiasis low transmission areas as Venezuela, can be defined as those where the vector exists, the prevalence of active cases is under 25%, individuals with mild intensity of infection predominate and are mostly asymptomatic. These areas are the consequence of effective control programs, however, "silent" epidemiological places are difficult to trace, avoiding the opportune diagnosis and treatment of infected persons. Clinic and abdominal ultrasound have not shown to discriminate infected from uninfected persons in areas where besides Schistosoma mansoni, intestinal parasites are the rule. Under these conditions, serology remains as a very valuable diagnostic tool, since it gives a closer approximation to the true prevalence. In this sense, circumoval precipitin test, ELISA-SEA with sodium metaperiodate, and alkaline phosphatase immunoassay joined to coprology allow the identification of the "schistosomiasis cases". In relation to public health, schistosomiasis has been underestimated by the sanitary authorities and the investment on its control is being transferred to other diseases of major social and political relevance neglecting sanitary efforts and allowing growth of snail population. Some strategies of diagnosis and control should be done before schistosomiasis reemergence occurs in low transmission areas. <![CDATA[<B>Morbidity of schistosomiasis mansoni in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil</B>]]> From 2002 to 2005, a program of active search for patients with hepatosplenic schistosomiasis and schistosomal myeloradiculopathy has been implemented in the state of Minas Gerais by the local Health Department. The state was divided in 28 regional health centers and the local representatives have been trained to identify and direct patients with hepatosplenic schistosomiasis and neuroschistosomiasis to a reference center in Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. Seventy five patients with hepatosplenic schistosomiasis and 54 with schistosomal myeloradiculopathy have been referred and examined in the reference center in a period of time of 3 years. Schistosomal myeloradiculopathy should be emphasized because the number of cases reported is increasing rapidly and when timely diagnosed and treated, they respond promptly to treatment. Left untreated, they die or become invalid for life. In our view, the time has come for more active investigation of the different aspects of morbidity caused by schistosomiasis mansoni in Brazil. <![CDATA[<B>The impact of two education methods on knowledge of schistosomiasis transmission and prevention among schoolchildren in a rural community in northern Minas Gerais, Brazil</B>]]> The objective of this study was to analyse the effect of using two health education approaches on knowledge of transmission and prevention of schistosomiasis of school children living in a rural endemic area in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The 87 children participating in the study were divided into three groups based on gender, age and presence or absence of Schistosoma mansoni infection. In the first group the social representation model and illness experience was used. In the second group, we used the cognitive model based on the transmission of information. The third group, the control group, did not receive any information related to schistosomiasis. Ten meetings were held with all three groups that received a pre-test prior to the beginning of the educational intervention and a post-test after the completion of the program. The results showed that knowledge levels in Group 1 increased significantly during the program in regard to transmission (p = 0.038) and prevention (p = 0.001) of schistosomiasis. Groups 2 and 3 did not show significant increase in knowledge between the two tests. These results indicate that health education models need to consider social representation and illness experience besides scientific knowledge in order to increase knowledge of schistosomiasis transmission and prevention. <![CDATA[<B>Assessment of schistosomiasis, through school surveys, in the Forest Zone of Pernambuco, Brazil</B>]]> This work had the objective of assessing the present epidemiological situation regarding schistosomiasis through performing Kato-Katz coproscopic tests on representative samples of schoolchildren from each of the 43 municipality of endemic area of the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. The methodology is recommended by the World Health Organization to conduct sampled surveys among children at elementary school levels, ideal target group for baseline surveys: (i) schools are accessible; (ii) the greatest prevalence of schistosomiasis is found within this group; (iii) the data gathered from this age group can be used for intervention within the community as a whole. The following infection indicators were utilized: positivity (percentage of individuals examined with eggs of Schistosoma mansoni in the feces) and severity (geometric mean number of eggs per gram of feces, epg). These indicators allowed the area in general and the municipalities in particular to be categorized into prevalence and severity classes for S. mansoni. The prevalence classes were: low (<10%), medium (> 10 and < 50%), and high (> 50%); the severity classes were: low (1-99 epg), moderate (100-399 epg), and severe (> 400 epg). For the geohelminthic diseases, the following indicators were used: positivity for each geohelminth (percentage of individuals examined with eggs of geohelminths), and cumulative positivity (percentage of individuals examined with eggs of at least one geohelminth). The municipalities were categorized by means of their cumulative positivity into the following geohelminth prevalence classes (WHO 2002): low (< 50%), medium (> 50 and < 70%), and high (> 70%). The study covered 271 schools in 179 different localities, thus giving a total of 11,234 examinations performed. The overall positivity for S. mansoni was 14.4% and the egg count for this parasite in the feces gave a geometric mean of 67.9 epg which suggests a low general state of infection. These results allow this mesoregion to be categorized as presenting medium prevalence and low severity of schistosomiasis. The overall positivity rates for the geohelminths, Ascaris lumbricoides, Ancylostomidae, and Trichuris trichiura were, respectively, 30.4, 10.1, and 27.8%; the cumulative positivity was 45.4%. These results allow this mesoregion to be categorized as presenting low prevalence of geohelminthic diseases. The data show some municipalities in Pernambuco with prevalence greater than 20%, while others presented parasite loads greater than 100 epg. These indicators attest to the significant morbidity due to schistosomiasis regarding to the severity of infections established in young populations. <![CDATA[<B>The spatial distribution of <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> infection before and after chemotherapy in the Jequitinhonha Valley in Brazil</B>]]> Schistosomiasis prevalence and egg counts remained low one year after chemotherapy in most households in a hyperendemic rural area in northern Minas Gerais but several distinct spatial patterns could be observed in relation to IgE levels and to a lesser extent to exposure risk (TBM) and type of water supply. An inverse relationship between pre-treatment household prevalence and egg counts on the one hand and post-treatment IgE levels on the other were noted in two of the five communities. Low exposure risk was associated with the low pre-treatment infection rates in the central village but did not contribute to the decline of infection rates after chemotherapy in the study area, as indicated by the significant increase in water contact during the posttreatment period (p < 0.0001). Distance between households and the streams and socioeconomic factors were also unimportant in predicting the spatial distribution of infection. These results are consistent with the production and antiparasitic effect of high levels of IgE in Schistosoma mansoni infection. <![CDATA[<B>Reliability of current estimates of schistosomiasis prevalence in the Rainforest Zone of the state of Pernambuco, Northeastern Brazil</B>]]> The Program for Schistosomiasis Control within the Unified Health System (PCE-SUS) was implemented by 1999 in the Rainforest Zone or "Zona da Mata" of Pernambuco (ZMP) aiming to carry out biennial stool surveys of whole populations through municipal health organs followed by treatment of the positives through the local units of the Family Health Program (PSF). Yearly reports from the Health Department of Pernambuco State (SES/PE) from 2002 to 2004 on the PCE-SUS surveys were assessed to evaluate whether the current estimates of prevalence in the municipalities of the ZMP are based on reliable samples so as to allow considerations on the real situation of schistosomiasis in that area. The surveys carried out in that period did not follow the major principles underlying sampling design, thus posing problems in both precision and validity of the estimates. Only 12 out of 43 municipalities had minimally reliable estimates: five with moderate prevalence (10-50%) and seven with low prevalence (< 10%). Surveys with appropriate sampling procedures aimed either at representative target groups (school-aged children) or communities are recommended for the ZMP and other endemic areas not only to provide reliable information on the current situation of schistosomiasis but also to plan adequate control strategies. <![CDATA[<B>An analysis of the impact of the Schistosomiasis Control Programme in Brazil</B>]]> The impact of the Schistosomiasis Control Programme (PCE) in Brazil was analyzed, covering the period 1976 to 2003, using the following indicators: percentage of Schistosoma mansoni carriers detected among the population examined in the coproscopic surveys (PPS): mortality rate for schistosomiasis, per 100,000 inhabitants (TME): hospitalization rate for schistosomiasis, per 100,000 inhabitants (TIE): average age of deaths caused by schistosomiasis (IMOE). There was a 38.5% reduction in the PPS after the introduction of the PCE, attributed to the treatment of carriers. Even in hyper-endemic municipalities, such as Conde and Cuitegí, in the state of Paraíba, the PPS fell more than 50% after the first year of treatment. The parasitic burden of the carriers also decreased in the two municipalities. The TME was reduced by 63.4% and the TIE by 77.3%. The mortality rate was highest among the 50-and-above age group. The country×s IMOE rose 32.3%. The IMOE was seen to be much lower in the state of Minas Gerais, where the PCE was only initiated in 1983, with very limited coverage. <![CDATA[<B>Multimedia materials for education, training, and advocacy in international health</B>: <B>experiences with the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative CD-ROM</B>]]> We describe an innovative use of multimedia materials to support training and advocacy within a schistosomiasis control programme. The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) at Imperial College London works with selected sub-Saharan African countries to develop schistosomiasis control programmes. Two elements of the SCI programme were supported by multimedia materials developed at the Wellcome Trust in collaboration with the SCI: (1) training of programme managers, district health officers, and those delivering practical elements of the programme; and (2) advocacy targeted at decision-makers and donors. Evaluation of the materials revealed high reported ratings for both user satisfaction and impact from use of the product. From this experience we draw out several general messages about development of multimedia materials and how these will play a growing future role in promoting training within international health. <![CDATA[<B>Analysis and estimative of schistosomiasis prevalence for the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, using multiple regression with social and environmental spatial data</B>]]> The aim of this work is to establish a relationship between schistosomiasis prevalence and social-environmental variables, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, through multiple linear regression. The final regression model was established, after a variables selection phase, with a set of spatial variables which contains the summer minimum temperature, human development index, and vegetation type variables. Based on this model, a schistosomiasis risk map was built for Minas Gerais. <![CDATA[<B>Discursive media strategies in the journalistic construction of schistosomiasis in Jaboticatubas, Minas Gerais</B>]]> Using media discourse analysis for material published by the press on schistomisasis in the city of Jaboticatubas, the possible determining factors of narrative and discursive constructions in the diffusion of information are discussed. It was observed that media discourse treats schistosomiasis in 1962 as something from the natural order. By 1997 and 1998, the media discourse strategies reveal ideological treatment in favor of certain social segments. Situations are identified in which social agents in specific contexts construct the meanings of this endemic disease. It was concluded that the economic organization of space was a determining factor in the production and circulation of the media discourses. <![CDATA[<B>Intergenerational representations of schistosomiasis in endemic area, Jaboticatubas, Minas Gerais</B>]]> The analysis of the intergenerational process of disease/health representations constitutes a requisite for the construction of projects and health education interventions. The objective of this work is to describe the meaning attributed to schistosomiasis in the family context. Twenty-one residents of an endemic area were interviewed. The interviews were submitted to content analysis. The results demonstrated different representations of the disease by the children, parents and grandparents. This paper discusses the differences in these representations and its impact in schistosomiasis control programs. <![CDATA[<B>Non-formal education for schistosomiasis prevention</B>: <B>the experience of the Museu Arqueológico de Central, Bahia, Brazil</B>]]> The activities described here form part of an extensive programme in place in the Região Arqueológica de Central, state of Bahia, Brazil. After malacological and socio-environmental surveys in the area, a strategy comprising formal and non-formal education with an emphasis on schistosomiasis prevention was developed, introduced, and evaluated. Interviews were conducted of 142 students and 11 teachers, totalling 11 classes at six primary schools. On the basis of those interviews, four display cases and seven panels were prepared. In addition a table was set up where students could participate directly on the subject, drawing and recognising the factors involved in the schistosomiasis cycle. The exhibition was held at the Museu Arqueológico de Central. The endeavours of this paper underline the importance of health education as well as exhibitions to disease prevention activities. <![CDATA[<B>An ecological field study of the water-rat <I>Nectomys squamipes</I> as a wild reservoir indicator of <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> transmission in an endemic area</B>]]> Small mammals are found naturally infected by Schistosoma mansoni, becoming a confounding factor for control programs of schistosomiasis in endemic areas. The aims of this study were: to investigate the infection rates by S. mansoni on the water-rat Nectomys squamipes during four years in endemic areas of Sumidouro, state of Rio de Janeiro, using mark-recapture technique; to compare two diagnostic methods for schistosomiasis; and to evaluate the effects of the chemotherapy in the human infected population on the rodent infection rates. The rodent infection rates of S. mansoni increased when rodent population sizes were lower. Coprology and serology results presented the same trends along time and were correlated. Serology could detect recent infection, including the false negatives in the coprology. The chemotherapy in the humans could not interrupt the rodent infection. Rodents can increase the schistosomiaisis transmission where it already exists, they probably maintain the transmission cycle in the nature and can be considered as biological indicators of the transmission sites of this parasite since they are highly susceptible to infection. The water-rats may present different levels of importance in the transmission dynamics of S. mansoni infection cycle for each area, and can be considered important wild-reservoirs of this human disease. <![CDATA[<B>Control of urinary schistosomiasis on Zanzibar (Unguja Island)</B>: <B>a pilot evaluation of the educational impact of the <I>Juma na Kichocho</I> health booklet within primary schools</B>]]> To improve health education within primary schools, the health education booklet Juma na kichocho was evaluated during a study within 5 schools using key-informant questionnaires that recorded children's knowledge and attitude (KA) towards schistosomiasis before and after daily structured-use of booklets. A total of 229 schoolchildren (114 boys : 115 girls) of between 11 and 15 years of age were interviewed and re-assessed after a working school week. Existing and putative booklet-induced changes in KA scores for schistosomiasis were compared directly against equivalent KA scores for malaria. In total 47.4% of children were already aware that schistosomiasis was a water-borne disease while only 10.5% knew of its exact aetiology; after booklet intervention these levels increased to 54.6 and 15.7%, respectively. The majority of children still failed, however, to realise that re-infection could take place soon after treatment. While a positive increase was observed for children's total KA questionnaire scores for both malaria and schistosomiasis after booklet intervention, these were not statistically significant. In the context of control, further educational efforts are needed to promote and guide behavioural change, especially in relation to reduction of environmental water contact. <![CDATA[<B>Attaining the minimum target of resolution WHA 54.19 for schistosomiasis control in the Rainforest Zone of the state of Pernambuco, Northeastern Brazil</B>]]> Resolution 19 of the 54th World Health Assembly (WHA-54.19) urged member nations to promote preventive measures, ensure treatment and mobilize resources for control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH). The minimum target is to attend 75% of all school-age children at risk by year 2010. The Brazilian Ministry of Health (MoH) recommends biennial surveys of whole communities and treatment of the positives through the Schistosomiasis Control Program within the Unified Health System (PCE-SUS). However, by 2004 the PCE-SUS had covered only 8.4% of the 1.2 million residents in the Rainforest Zone of Pernambuco (ZMP). Six of the 43 municipalities still remained unattended. Only three of the municipalities already surveyed reached coverage of 25% or more. At least 154 thousand children in the 7-14 years old range have to be examined (and treated if positive) within the next five years to attend the minimum target of the WHA 54.19 for the ZMP. To make this target feasible, it is suggested that from 2006 to 2010 the PCE-SUS actions should be complemented with school-based diagnosis and treatment, involving health and educational organs as well as community associations to include both children in schools and non-enrolled school-age children. <![CDATA[<B>Development of a real time polymerase chain reaction for quantitation of <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> DNA</B>]]> This report describes the development of a SYBR Green I based real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol for detection on the ABI Prism 7000 instrument. Primers targeting the gene encoding the SSU rRNA were designed to amplify with high specificity DNA from Schistosoma mansoni, in a real time quantitative PCR system. The limit of detection of parasite DNA for the system was 10 fg of purified genomic DNA, that means less than the equivalent to one parasite cell (genome ~580 fg DNA). The efficiency was 0.99 and the correlation coefficient (R²) was 0.97. When different copy numbers of the target amplicon were used as standards, the assay could detect at least 10 copies of the specific target. The primers used were designed to amplify a 106 bp DNA fragment (Tm 83ºC). The assay was highly specific for S. mansoni, and did not recognize DNA from closely related non-schistosome trematodes. The real time PCR allowed for accurate quantification of S. mansoni DNA and no time-consuming post-PCR detection of amplification products by gel electrophoresis was required. The assay is potentially able to quantify S. mansoni DNA (and indirectly parasite burden) in a number of samples, such as snail tissue, serum and feces from patients, and cercaria infested water. Thus, these PCR protocols have potential to be used as tools for monitoring of schistosome transmission and quantitative diagnosis of human infection. <![CDATA[<B>Protein tyrosine kinases in <I>Schistosoma mansoni</B></I>]]> The identification and description of signal transduction molecules and mechanisms are essential to elucidate Schistosoma mansoni host-parasite interactions and parasite biology. This mini review focuses on recent advancements in the study of signalling molecules and transduction mechanisms in S. mansoni, drawing special attention to the recently identified and characterised protein tyrosine kinases of S. mansoni. <![CDATA[<B>Molecular approaches for the detection of <I>Schistosoma mansoni</B></I>: <B>possible applications in the detection of snail infection, monitoring of transmission sites, and diagnosis of human infection</B>]]> The detection of specific DNA sequences by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has proved extremely valuable for the analysis of genetic disorders and the diagnosis of a variety of infectious disease pathogens. However, the application to the detection of Schistosoma mansoni is rare, despite a recommendation of the World Health Organization that a major focus of research on schistosomiasis should be on the development and evaluation of new strategies and tools for control of the disease. In this context, a few studies were published for the detection of the parasite in snails, monitoring of cercariae in water bodies, and diagnosis of human infection. The present minireview describes sensitive and specific PCR based systems to detect S. mansoni, indicating possible applications in the detection of snail infection, monitoring of transmission sites, and diagnosis of human infection. <![CDATA[<B>Clinical-epidemiological profile of children with schistosomal myeloradiculopathy attended at the Instituto Materno-Infantil de Pernambuco</B>]]> The most critical phase of exposure to schistosomal infection is the infancy, because of the more frequent contact with contaminated water and the immaturity of the immune system. One of the most severe presentations of this parasitosis is the involvement of the spinal cord, which prognosis is largely dependent on early diagnosis and treatment. Reports on this clinical form of schistosomiasis in children are rare in the literature. We present here the clinical-epidemiological profile of schistosomal myeloradiculopathy (SMR) from ten children who were admitted at the Instituto Materno-Infantil de Pernambuco over a five-year period. They were evaluated according to an investigation protocol. Most of these patients presented an acute neurological picture which included as the main clinical manifestations: sphincteral disorders, low back and lower limbs pain, paresthesia, lower limbs muscle weakness and absence of deep tendon reflex, and impairment of the gait. The diagnosis was presumptive in the majority of the cases. This study emphasizes the importance of considering the diagnosis of SMR in pediatric patients coming from endemic areas who present a low cord syndrome, in order to start the appropriate therapy and avoid future complications. <![CDATA[<B>Characterization of the gene expression related to the process of DNA damage tolerance in <I>Schistosoma mansoni</B></I>]]> In the course of its complex life cycle, the parasite Schistosoma mansoni need to adapt to distinct environments, and consequently is exposed to various DNA damaging agents. The Schistosoma genome sequencing initiative has uncovered sequences from genes and transcripts related to the process of DNA damage tolerance as the enzymes UBC13, MMS2, and RAD6. In the present work, we evaluate the importance of this process in different stages of the life cycle of this parasite. The importance is evidenced by expression and phylogenetic profiles, which show the conservation of this pathway from protozoa to mammalians on evolution. <![CDATA[<B>Production of full-length cDNA sequences by sequencing and analysis of expressed sequence tags from <I>Schistosoma mansoni</B></I>]]> The number of sequences generated by genome projects has increased exponentially, but gene characterization has not followed at the same rate. Sequencing and analysis of full-length cDNAs is an important step in gene characterization that has been used nowadays by several research groups. In this work, we have selected Schistosoma mansoni clones for full-length sequencing, using an algorithm that investigates the presence of the initial methionine in the parasite sequence based on the positions of alignment start between two sequences. BLAST searches to produce such alignments have been performed using parasite expressed sequence tags produced by Minas Gerais Genome Network against sequences from the database Eukaryotic Cluster of Orthologous Groups (KOG). This procedure has allowed the selection of clones representing 398 proteins which have not been deposited as S. mansoni complete CDS in any public database. Dedicated sequencing of 96 of such clones with reads from both 5' and 3' ends has been performed. These reads have been assembled using PHRAP, resulting in the production of 33 full-length sequences that represent novel S. mansoni proteins. These results shall contribute to construct a more complete view of the biology of this important parasite. <![CDATA[<B>A bacterial artificial chromosome library for <I>Biomphalaria glabrata</I>, intermediate snail host of <I>Schistosoma mansoni</i></B>]]> To provide a novel resource for analysis of the genome of Biomphalaria glabrata, members of the international Biomphalaria glabrata Genome Initiative (<A HREF=""></A>), working with the Arizona Genomics Institute (AGI) and supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), produced a high quality bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library. The BB02 strain B. glabrata, a field isolate (Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brasil) that is susceptible to several strains of Schistosoma mansoni, was selfed for two generations to reduce haplotype diversity in the offspring. High molecular weight DNA was isolated from ovotestes of 40 snails, partially digested with HindIII, and ligated into pAGIBAC1 vector. The resulting B. glabrata BAC library (BG_BBa) consists of 61824 clones (136.3 kb average insert size) and provides 9.05 × coverage of the 931 Mb genome. Probing with single/low copy number genes from B. glabrata and fingerprinting of selected BAC clones indicated that the BAC library sufficiently represents the gene complement. BAC end sequence data (514 reads, 299860 nt) indicated that the genome of B. glabrata contains ~ 63% AT, and disclosed several novel genes, transposable elements, and groups of high frequency sequence elements. This BG_BBa BAC library, available from AGI at cost to the research community, gains in relevance because BB02 strain B. glabrata is targeted whole genome sequencing by NHGRI. <![CDATA[<B><I>Biomphalaria </I>spp. (Preston, 1910) snails in the municipality of Juiz de Fora, Zona da Mata Mineira mesoregion, ate of Minas Gerais, Brazil</B>]]> This study focuses on the geographic distribution of the snail of the genus Biomphalaria and evaluates its infectivity by Schistosoma mansoni in 5264 specimens collected in the municipality of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Of the 31 locations studied, 6 were reservoirs, 11 rudimentary holding ponds, 7 irrigation ditches, 5 lakes, 1 ornamental pond, and 1 waterfall. Intermediate hosts were found only in the rudimentary ponds and ditches, which were 100% positive. Using morphological and molecular analysis techniques, B. tenagophila, B. peregrina, and B. straminea were identified. This is the first report of B. stramínea in the municipality, and evaluation of its infective potential revealed susceptibility of 25.4%. Although we did not find specimens of Biomphalaria infected by S. mansoni, the data obtained indicate the presence of intermediate hosts, especially in the irrigation ditches in Juiz de Fora, and their proximity to contaminated areas. <![CDATA[<B>Differential lectin labelling of circulating hemocytes from <I>Biomphalaria glabrata </I>and <I>Biomphalaria tenagophila </I>resistant or susceptible to <I>Schistosoma mansoni </I>infection</B>]]> Lectins/carbohydrate binding can be involved in the Schistosoma mansoni recognition and activation of the Biomphalaria hemocytes. Therefore, expression of lectin ligands on Biomphalaria hemocytes would be associated with snail resistance against S. mansoni infection. To test this hypothesis, circulating hemocytes were isolated from B. glabrata BH (snail strain highy susceptible to S. mansoni), B. tenagophila Cabo Frio (moderate susceptibility), and B. tenagophila Taim (completely resistant strains), labelled with FITC conjugated lectins (ConA, PNA, SBA, and WGA) and analyzed under fluorescence microscopy. The results demonstrated that although lectin-labelled hemocytes were detected in hemolymph of all snail species tested, circulating hemocytes from both strains of B. tenagophila showed a larger number of lectin-labelled cells than B. glabrata. Moreover, most of circulating hemocytes of B. tenagophila were intensively labelled by lectins PNA-FITC and WGA-FITC, while in B. glabrata small hemocytes were labeled mainly by ConA. Upon S. mansoni infection, lectin-labelled hemocytes almost disappeared from the hemolymph of Taim and accumulated in B. glabrata BH. The role of lectins/carbohydrate binding in resistance of B. tengophila infection to S. mansoni is still not fully understood, but the data suggest that there may be a correlation to its presence with susceptibility or resistance to the parasite. <![CDATA[<B>A contribution to the pathobiology of <I>Biomphalaria glabrata</I> hemocytes</B>]]> This study attempts to investigate the relationship between the hemocytes in the two compartments: circulating peripheral lymph and the connective tissues. The hemocytes are compared with the vertebrate macrophages and constitute the principal line of defense against external aggression. The hemocytes were counted in circulating hemolymph and their phagocytic capability was evaluated in Schistosoma mansoni-infected Biomphalaria glabrata and the results were compared with those obtained from normal intact control snails. Although the number of circulating hemocytes revealed a mild increase in snails at the 6th week of infection, the overall findings were similar and pointed out that the cells in the two compartments are not functionally connected. However, the hemocytes found within the connective tissues of infected snails showed definite ultrastructural differences in the number and disposition of cytoplasmic prolongations and organelles in comparison with the hemocytes from non-infected snails. Histochemically, the staining for acid phosphatase activity served as a marker to hemocytes, sometimes being found in extracellular material at the foci of parasite-hemocyte interactions. <![CDATA[<B>Changes induced in <I>Biomphalaria glabrata</I> (Say, 1818) following trials for artificial stimulation of its internal defense system</B>]]> Biomphalaria glabrata can react through different pathways to Schistosoma mansoni miracidium penetration, according to the degree of resistance/susceptibility presented by different snail strains, which is a genetically determined character, resistance being the dominant feature. However, it has been observed that previous susceptible snail strain may change its reactive behavior along the course of infection, exhibiting later a pattern of cercarial shedding and histopatopathological picture compatible with high resistance. Such observation suggests the possibility of B. glabrata to develop a sort of adaptative immunity face a schistosome infection. To explore on this aspect, the present investigation looked for the behavior of S. mansoni infection in B. glabrata previously subjected to different means of artificial stimulation of its internal defense system. Snails previously inoculated with irradiated miracídia (Group I); treated with S. mansoni antigens (Group II) or with a non-related parasite antigen (Group III) were challenged with 20 viable S. mansoni miracidia, and later looked for cercarial shedding and histopathologic changes at different times from exposition. Nodules of hemocyte accumulations were found at the site of antigen injection. These nodules resembled solid granulomas, and were larger and more frequent in snails injected with S. mansoni products as compared to those injected with Capillaria hepatica. However, the presence of such granulomas did not avoid the S. mansoni challenge infection from developing in a similar way as that seen in controls. The data are indicative that hemocytes are able to proliferate locally when stimulated, such capacity also remaining localized, not being shared by the population of hemocytes located elsewhere within the snail body. <![CDATA[<B>Proteomic analysis of the shistosome tegument and its surface membranes</B>]]> The tegument surface of the adult schistosome, bounded by a normal plasma membrane overlain by a secreted membranocalyx, holds the key to understanding how schistosomes evade host immune responses. Recent advances in mass spectrometry (MS), and the sequencing of the Schistosoma mansoni transcriptome/genome, have facilitated schistosome proteomics. We detached the tegument from the worm body and enriched its surface membranes by differential extraction, before subjecting the preparation to liquid chromatography-based proteomics to identify its constituents. The most exposed proteins on live worms were labelled with impearmeant biotinylation reagents, and we also developed methods to isolate the membranocalyx for analysis. We identified transporters for sugars, amino acids, inorganic ions and water, which confirm the importance of the tegument plasma membrane in nutrient acquisition and solute balance. Enzymes, including phosphohydrolases, esterases and carbonic anhydrase were located with their catalytic domains external to the plasma membrane, while five tetraspanins, annexin and dysferlin were implicated in membrane architecture. In contrast, few parasite proteins could be assigned to the membranocalyx but mouse immune response proteins, including three immunoglobulins and two complement factors, were detected, plus host membrane proteins such as CD44, integrin and a complement regulatory protein, testifying to the acquisitive properties of the secreted bilayer. <![CDATA[<B>On the origin of the <I>Biomphalaria glabrata</I> hemocytes</B>]]> A histologic, morphometric and ultrastructural study performed on Biomphalaria glabrata submitted to infection with Schistosoma mansoni miracidia failed to provide significant evidences that the so-called amebocyte-producing organ (APO) is really the central organ for hemocyte production. In infected snails no general reactive changes appeared in the APO, the mitoses were seen only occasionally, and the possibility of cellular hyperplasia was ruled out by morphometric measurements. Under the electron microscope the APO cells presented an essentially epithelial structure, without features indicative of transition toward hemocytes. On the other hand, the present findings pointed to a multicentric origin for the mollusck hemocytes, as earlier studies had indicated. Dense foci of hemocyte collections appeared sometimes around disintegrating sporocysts and cercariae in several organs and tissues of the infected snails, including a curious accumulation of such cells inside the ventricular cavity of the heart. In the heart and other sites, features suggestive of transformation of vascular space endothelial lining cells into hemocytes were apparent. To some extent, the postulated multicentric origin for B. glabrata hemocytes recapitulates earlier embryologic findings in vertebrates, when mesenchymal vascular spaces generate the circulating and phagocytic blood cells. <![CDATA[<B>Four whole-istic aspects of schistosome granuloma biology</B>: <B>fractal arrangement, internal regulation, autopoietic component and closure</B>]]> This paper centers on some whole-istic organizational and functional aspects of hepatic Schistosoma mansoni granuloma, which is an extremely complex system. First, it structurally develops a collagenic topology, originated bidirectionally from an inward and outward assembly of growth units. Inward growth appears to be originated from myofibroblasts derived from small portal vessel around intravascular entrapped eggs, while outward growth arises from hepatic stellate cells. The auto-assembly of the growth units defines the three-dimensional scaffold of the schistosome granulomas. The granuloma surface irregularity and its border presented fractal dimension equal to 1.58. Second, it is internally regulated by intricate networks of immuneneuroendocrine stimuli orchestrated by leptin and leptin receptors, substance P and Vasoactive intestinal peptide. Third, it can reach the population of ± 40,000 cells and presents an autopoietic component evidenced by internal proliferation (Ki-67+ Cells), and by expression of c-Kit+ Cells, leptin and leptin receptor (Ob-R), granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF-R), and erythropoietin (Epo-R) receptors. Fourth, the granulomas cells are intimately connected by pan-cadherins, occludin and connexin-43, building a state of closing (granuloma closure). In conclusion, the granuloma is characterized by transitory stages in such a way that its organized structure emerges as a global property which is greater than the sum of actions of its individual cells and extracellular matrix components. <![CDATA[<B>Intermediate and definitive hosts of <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> in Corrientes province, Argentina</B>]]> Corrientes province is located in the humid subtropical region of Argentina northeast on the left riverbank of Paraná River in the border with the South of Brazil. This is a region without schistosomiasis but planorbid and rodents that would serve as host of the life cycle of Schistosoma mansoni inhabit here. The objective of this work is to know the role of rodent as definitive host of schistosomiasis. Biomphalaria tenagophila (4 to 8 mm Ø) from Maloyas, exposed each to 10 miracidia of SJ2 strain of S. mansoni natives from Brazil were susceptible (5%). The degree of compatibility was Class II of Frandsen. Five wild rodents captured in the same ecological niche were exposed transcutaneously to infection with 40 cercariae for animal: two Olygoryzomys flavescens, two Holochilus braziliensis, and one Scapteromys tuncidus. Only one H. braziliensis eliminated eggs in feces. Prepatent period was of 83 days. With these feces, two of six (33.3%) B. tenagophila from Maloyas were infected with miracidium. It was demonstrated, in an area free of schistosomiasis, that life cycle S. mansoni is closed with planorbid and rodents that live in the same ecological niche. <![CDATA[<B>Susceptibility of <I>Biomphalaria amazonica </I>and<I> Biomphalaria occidentalis </I>from Manso Dam, Mato Grosso, Brazil to infection with three strains of <I>Schistosoma mans</I>oni</B>]]> As well as malaria and yellow fever, schistosomiasis is one of the main endemic diseases associated to environments which suffered some impact related to the development of great economic projects, as for example the construction of hydroelectric power stations. Aiming to investigate the occurrence and distribution of freshwater snails of medical and veterinary importance in the area which suffered impact from the Manso hydroelectric power station a survey was performed during the period of 2002 to 2003 and revealed the occurrence of populations of Biomphalaria amazonica and Biomphalaria occidentalis. Studies on parasite-mollusc compatibility were undertaken using five B. amazonica colonies (Barão de Melgaço, Poconé, Santo Antônio do Leverger, and Chapada dos Guimarães, in the Manso and Casca rivers), and four B. occidentalis colonies (Cuiabá, Santo Antônio do Leverger, and Chapada dos Guimarães, in the Água Fria district and Casca river) were exposed to miracidia of Schistosoma mansoni. Of 257 snails of B. amazonica used, 17 became infected (infection index of 6.61%) and all specimens of B. occidentalis proved unsusceptible. According to the strains used, of the 158 snails exposed to BH miracidia, 6 became infected (3.79%); of the 44 exposed to SJ miracidia, 6 became infected (13.63%); and of the 55 snails of B. amazonica exposed to EC miracidia, 5 became infected (9.09%). These results point out the low possibility of introduction of schistosomiasis in those areas, but we believe it can not be discarded as due the presence of B. amazonica. <![CDATA[<B>Freshwater snails and schistosomiasis mansoni in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil</B>: <B>VI - Noroeste Fluminense Mesoregion</B>]]> In this paper, the last of a series dealing with the survey of freshwater gastropods of the state of Rio de Janeiro, the results of collections carried out in the Noroeste Fluminense Mesoregion from 2002 to 2005 are presented and revealed the occurrence of 20 species: Antillorbis nordestensis; Biomphalaria glabrata; B. straminea; B. tenagophila; Drepanotrema anatinum; D. cimex; D. depressissimum; D. lucidum; Ferrissia sp.; Gundlachia ticaga; Gundlachia sp.; Heleobia sp.; Idiopyrgus sp.; Lymnaea columella; Melanoides tuberculatus; Physa acuta; P. marmorata; Plesiophysa guadeloupensis; Pomacea lineata; and Pomacea sp. Concerning the snail hosts of schistosomiasis the three natural vectors were identified and, although no specimens were found harbouring larval forms of Schistosoma mansoni, different kinds of cercariae had been observed. <![CDATA[<B><I>Biomphalaria tenagophila</B></I>: <B>dynamics of populations of resistant and susceptible strains to <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I>, with or without pressure of the parasite</B>]]> Resistant (Taim, RS) and susceptible albino (Joinville, SC) Biomphalaria tenagophila populations were kept together, at different proportions, throughout a 18-month-period. Some of the snail groups were submitted to Schistosoma mansoni infection. The targets of this study were (a) to analyze the populational dynamics among resistant and susceptible individuals to S. mansoni; (b) to study the resistance phenotype in descendants of cross-breeding; (c) to observe whether the parasite could exert any kind of selection in those snail populations. Throughout the experiment it could be observed that the susceptible B. tenagophila strain (Joinville) underwent a selective pressure of the parasite that was negative, since the individuals showed a high mortality rate. Although B. tenagophila (Taim) population presented a higher mortality rate without pressure of the parasite, this event was compensated by a reproductive capacity. B. tenagophila Taim was more fecund than B. tenagophila Joinville and was able to transmit the resistance character to their descendants. F1 generation obtained by cross-breeding between resistant and susceptible lineages was completely resistant to S. mansoni infection, irrespective of the Taim proportion. Moreover, less than 5% of F2 progeny were susceptible to S. mansoni infection. <![CDATA[<B>Hepatic stereology of schistosomiasis mansoni infected-mice fed a high-fat diet</B>]]> High-fat diets induce weight gain and fatty liver in wild-type mice. Schistosomiasis mansoni infection also promotes hepatic injury. This study was designed to quantify hepatic alterations in schistosomiasis mansoni-infected mice fed a high fat-rich chow compared to mice fed a standard rodent chow, using stereology. Female SW mice fed each either high-fat diet (29% lipids) or standard chow (12% lipids) over 8 months, and then were infected with Schistosoma mansoni cercariae. Four experimental groups were studied: infected mice fed a high-fat diet (IHFC) or standard chow (ISC), uninfected mice fed a high-fat diet (HFC) or standard chow (SC). Mice were sacrificed during early infection (9 weeks from exposure). The following hepatic biometry and the stereology parameters were determined: volume density (hepatocytes [h], sinusoids [s], steatosis [st] and hepatic fibrosis [hf]); numerical density (hepatocyte nuclei - Nv[h]); absolute number of total hepatocyte N[h], normal hepatocyte N[nh], and binucleated hepatocyte N[bh], percentage of normal hepatocyte P[nh] and binucleated hepatocyte P[bh]. IHFC and HFC groups exhibited TC, HDL-C, LDL-C, and body mass significantly greater (p < 0.05) than control group. No significant differences were found regards liver volume (p = 0.07). Significant differences were observed regards P[nh] (p = 0.0045), P[bh] (p = 0.0045), Nv[h] (p = 0.0006), N[h] (p = 0.0125), N[bh] (p = 0.0164) and N[nh] (p = 0.0078). IHFC mice group presented 29% of binucleated hepatocytes compared to HFC group (19%), ISC group (17%) and SC (6%). Volume density was significantly different between groups: Vv[h] (p = 0.0052), Vv[s] (p = 0.0025), Vv[st] (p = 0.0004), and Vv[hf] (p = 0.0007). In conclusion, schistosomiasis mansoni infection with concurrent high-fat diet promotes intensive quantitative changes in hepatic structure, contributing to an increasing on hepatic regeneration. <![CDATA[<B>Development of S<I>chistosoma mansoni</I> worms in mice analyzed by bright field and confocal microscopy</B>]]> The blood flukes of mammals (Digenea: Schistosomatidae) are among trematodes unique whose adult worms have separeted sexes which are dissimilar in appearance. The developmental features, growth and organogenesis of Schistosoma mansoni were studied in Swiss Webster mice by a digital system for image analysis and confocal microscopy. Data so far obtained showed two phases with significative morphological changes at 3-4 weeks post-infection, and a gradual similar development onwards in the reproductive system and tegument. Our male-dependent phase demonstrated that mating occurs before sexual maturing. At week three, the majority of male worms (59%) had formed the gynaecophoric canal although testicular lobes and tegumental tubercles were absent. By this time, 33% females had an incipient ovary (without cellular differentiation). At week four, 77.2% males presented testicular lobes with few germinative cells while 26% had developing tegumental tubercles. The immature ovary was observed in 69% females. Suckers followed different pattern of growth between male and females. The size of oral and ventral suckers from six-week-old male worms grew abruptly (3.0 fold) more than that of three-week-old. In female worms, maximum growth was attained at week four, reducing in size thereafter. From sixth week onwards, all specimens showed the fully developed reproductive system. Probably, these features are morphological traits which schistosome has experienced from hermaphrodite to dioecy. <![CDATA[<B>Remodeling of hepatic vascular changes after specific chemotherapy of schistosomal periportal fibrosis</B>]]> Hepatosplenic schistosomiasis was the first human disease in which the possibility of extensive long standing hepatic fibrosis being degraded and removed has been demonstrated. When such changes occurred, the main signs of portal hypertension (splenomegaly, esophageal varices) progressively disappeared, implying that a profound vascular remodeling was concomitantly occurring. Hepatic vascular alterations associated with advanced schistosomiasis have already been investigated. Obstruction of the intrahepatic portal vein branches, plus marked angiogenesis and compensatory hyperplasia and hypertrophy of the arterial tree are the main changes present. However, there are no data revealing how these vascular changes behave during the process of fibrosis regression. Here the mouse model of pipestem fibrosis was used in an investigation about these vascular alterations during the course of the infection, and also after treatment and cure of the disease. Animals representing the two polar hepatic forms of the infection were included: (1) "isolated granulomas" characterized by isolated periovular granulomas sparsely distributed throughout the hepatica parenchyma; and (2) 'pipestem fibrosis' with periovular granulomas and fibrosis being concentrated within portal spaces, before and after treatment, were studied by means of histological and vascular injection-corrosion techniques. Instances of widespread portal vein obstruction of several types were commonly found in the livers of the untreated animals. These obstructive lesions were soon repaired, and completely disappeared four months following specific treatment of schistosomiasis. Treatment was accomplished by the simultaneous administration of praziquantel and oxamniquine. The most impressive results were revealed by the technique of injection of colored masses into the portal system, followed by corrosion in strong acid. The vascular lesions of non-treated pipestem fibrosis were represented in the plastic casts by considerable diminution of the fine peripheral portal vein radicles, plus dilatation of periportal collaterals. Four months after treatment, this last picture appeared replaced by tufts of newly interwoven vessels formed along the main portal vein branches, disclosing a strong angiomatoid reparative change. Understanding about the cellular elements at play during fibro-vascular repairing changes of hepatic schistosomiais represents a matter of considerable scientific and conceptual importance. At present time one may only speculate about the participation of some type of natural stem-cell capable of restoring the diseased liver back to normal once the cause of the disorder has been eliminated. <![CDATA[<B>Histopathological study of <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> infection in the murine model using the PC (Pará) and LILA (Maranhão) strains</B>]]> Experimental models of Schistosoma mansoni infections in mammals have contributed greatly in understanding the pathology and pathogenesis of human infection. The absence of earlier reviews regarding specific strains of the Amazon region prompted research, which the main objective was to describe histopathological lesions in different phases of schistosomiasis in a murine model using PC (Pará) and LILA (Maranhão) S. mansoni strains. One hundred and eighty young female albino swiss mice (Mus musculus) were used and were randomly divided into five groups (PC-01, PC-02, LILA-01, LILA-02, and controls), according to the number of cercariae injected and the strain adopted. Animals were sacrificed in predetermined periods (35, 56, 112, 156, and 180 days) in an attempt to follow the evolution of the disease in the histological sections of their tissues at different phases of infection. Our findings were compatible with the data already described by others authors using different strains of S. mansoni, making it possible to identify some peculiarities, which are discussed in this work. In conclusion, the strains of parasite used did not modify the histopathological findings in the tissues of infected mice in any significant way when compared with the results of other studies using different strains. <![CDATA[<B>Disagreement between ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging in the identification of schistosomal periportal fibrosis</B>]]> Abdominal ultrasound (US) has been widely used in the evaluation of patients with schistosomiasis mansoni. It represents an important indirect method of diagnosis and classification of the disease, and it has also been used as a tool in the evaluation of therapeutic response and regression of fibrosis. We describe the case of a man in whom US showed solid evidence of schistosomal periportal fibrosis and magnetic resonance imaging revealed that periportal signal alteration corresponded to adipose tissue which entered the liver togheter with the portal vein. <![CDATA[<B>Activity of praziquantel on in vitro transformed <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> sporocysts</B>]]> Praziquantel (PZQ) is effective against all the evolutive phases of Schistosoma mansoni. Infected Biomphalaria glabrata snails have their cercarial shedding interrupted when exposed to PZQ. Using primary in vitro transformed sporocysts, labeled with the probe Hoechst 33258 (indicator of membrane integrity), and lectin of Glycine max (specific for carbohydrate of N-acetylgalactosamine membrane), we evaluated the presence of lysosomes at this evolutive phase of S. mansoni, as well as the influence of PZQ on these acidic organelles and on the tegument of the sporocyst. Although the sporocyst remained alive, it was observed that there was a marked contraction of its musculature, and there occurred a change in the parasite's structure. Also, the acidic vesicles found in the sporocysts showed a larger delimited area after contact of the parasites with PZQ. Damages to the tegument was also observed, as show a well-marked labeling either with Hoechst 33258 or with lectin of Glycine max after contact of sporocysts with the drug. These results could partially explain the interruption/reduction mechanism of cercarial shedding in snails exposed to PZQ. <![CDATA[<B>Comparison between morphological and staining characteristics of live and dead eggs of <I>Schistosoma mansoni</B></I>]]> Schistosoma mansoni eggs are classified, according to morphological characteristics, as follows: viable mature and immature eggs; dead mature and immature eggs, shells and granulomas. The scope of this study was to compare the staining characteristics of different morphological types of eggs in the presence of fluorescent labels and vital dyes, aiming at differentiating live and dead eggs. The eggs were obtained from the intestines of infected mice, and put into saline 0.85%. The fluorescent labels were Hoechst 33258 and Acridine Orange + Ethidium Bromide and vital dyes (Trypan Blue 0.4% and Neutral Red 1%). When labelled with the probe Hoechst 33258, some immature eggs, morphologically considered viable, presented fluorescence (a staining characteristic detected only in dead eggs); mature eggs did not present fluorescence, and the other types of dead eggs, morphologically defined, showed fluorescence. As far as Acridine Orange + Ethidium Bromide are concerned, either the eggs considered to be live, or the dead ones, presented staining with green color, and only the hatched and motionless miracidium was stained with an orange color. Trypan Blue was not able to stain the eggs, considered to be dead but only dead miracidia which had emerged out of the shell. Neutral Red stained both live and dead eggs. Only the fluorescent Hoechst 33258 can be considered a useful tool for differentiation between dead and live eggs. <![CDATA[<B>The effects of drugs, ions, and poly-l-lysine on the excretory system of <I>Schistosoma mansoni</B></I>]]> We have been able to label the excretory system of cercariae and all forms of schistosomula, immature and adult worms with the highly fluorescent dye resorufin. We have shown that the accumulation of the resorufin into the excretory tubules and collecting ducts of the male adult worm depends on the presence of extracellular calcium and phosphate ions. In the adult male worms, praziquantel (PZQ) prevents this accumulation in RPMI medium and disperses resorufin from tubules which have been prelabelled. Female worms and all other developmental stages are much less affected either by the presence of calcium and phosphate ions, or the disruption caused by PZQ. The male can inhibit the excretory system in paired female. Fluorescent PZQ localises in the posterior gut (intestine) region of the male adult worm, but not in the excretory system, except for the anionic carboxy fluorescein derivative of PZQ, which may be excreted by this route. All stages of the parasite can recover from damage by PZQ treatment in vitro. The excretory system is highly sensitive to damage to the surface membrane and may be involved in vesicle movement and damage repair processes. In vivo the adult parasite does not recover from PZQ treatment, but what is inhibiting recovery is unknown, but likely to be related to immune effector molecules. <![CDATA[<B>Long-term outcomes of school-based treatment for control of urinary schistosomiasis</B>: <B>a review of experience in Coast Province, Kenya</B>]]> Urinary schistosomiasis remains a significant burden for Africa and the Middle East. The success of population-based control programs will depend on their impact, over many years, on Schistosoma haematobium reinfection and associated disease. In a multi-year (1984-1992) control program in Kenya, we examined risk for S. haematobium reinfection and late disease during and after annual school-based treatment. In this setting, long-term risk of new infection was independently associated with location, age, hematuria, and incomplete treatment, but not with sex or frequency of water contact. Thus, very local environmental features and age-related factors played an important role in S. haematobium transmission, such that population-based control programs should optimally tailor their efforts to local conditions on a village-by-village basis. In 2001-2002, the late benefits of earlier participation in school-based antischistosomal therapy were estimated in a cohort of formerly-treated adult residents compared to never-treated adults from the same villages. Among age-matched subjects, current infection prevalence was lower among those who had received remote therapy. In addition, prevalence of bladder abnormality was lower in the treated group, who were free of severe bladder disease. Treatment of affected adults resulted in rapid resolution of infection and any detectable bladder abnormalities. We conclude that continued treatment into adulthood, as well as efforts at long-term prevention of infection (transmission control) are necessary to achieve optimal morbidity control in affected communities. <![CDATA[<B>The schistosome enzyme that activates oxamniquine has the characteristics of a sulfotransferase</B>]]> Available evidence suggests that the antischistosomal drug oxamniquine is converted to a reactive ester by a schistosome enzyme that is missing in drug-resistant parasites. This study presents data supporting the idea that the active ester is a sulfate and the activating enzyme is a sulfotransferase. Evidence comes from the fact that the parasite extract loses its activating capability upon dialysis, implying the requirement of some dialyzable cofactor. The addition of the sulfate donor 3'-phosphoadenosine 5'-phosphosulfate (PAPS) restored activity of the dialyzate, a strong indication that a sulfotransferase is probably involved. Classical sulfotransferase substrates like beta-estradiol and quercetin competitively inhibited the activation of oxamniquine. Furthermore, these substrates could be sulfonated in vitro using an extract of sensitive (but not resistant) schistosomes. Gel filtration analysis showed that the activating factor eluted in a fraction corresponding to a molecular mass of about 32 kDa, which is the average size of typical sulfotransferase subunits. Ion exchange and affinity chromatography confirmed the sulfotransferase nature of the enzyme. Putative sulfotransferases present in schistosome databases are being examined for their possible role as oxamniquine activators. <![CDATA[<B>New imidazolidinic bioisosters</B>: <B>potential candidates for antischistosomal drugs</B>]]> The emergence of strains of Schistosoma resistant to praziquantel has drawn attention to the search for new schistosomacide drugs. Imidazolidinic derivatives have performed outstandingly against adult S. mansoni worms when evaluated in vitro. The molecular modification of imidazolidine by way of bioisosteric replacement gives rise to variations in its biological response. This study verifies the potential of substituent groups in the derivatives (Z)3-benzyl-5-(2-fluoro-benzylidene)-imidazolidine-2,4-dione NE4, 3-benzyl-5-(4-chloro-arylazo)-4-thioxo-imidazolidin -2-ona PT5, 3-benzyl-5-(3-fluoro-benzylidene)-1-methyl-2-thioxo-imidazolidin-4-one JT53; 3-benzyl-1-methyl-5-(4-methyl-benzylidene)-2-thioxo-imidazolidin-4-one JT63; 3-benzyl-1-methyl-5-(4-methoxi-benzylidene)-2-thioxo -imidazolidin-4-one JT68; 3-(4-chloro-benzyl)-1-methyl-5-(4-methoxi-benzylidene)-2-thioxo-imidazolidin-4-one JT69; 3-(4-phenyl-benzyl)-1-methyl-5-(4-methoxi-benzylidene)-2-thioxo-imidazolidin-4-one JT72 by determining the viability in vitro of adult S. mansoni worms in the presence of these derivatives. The susceptibility of the worms obtained from mice and kept in culture in the presence of different concentrations was determined by way of schistosomacide kinetic, observed every 24 h over a period of eight days. The results show that the worms were more sensitive to the PT5 derivative at a concentration of 58 µM which killed 100% of the worms after 24 h of contact, also giving rise to alterations in the tegument surface of the worms with the formation of bubbles and peeling. These observations suggest a strong electronic contribution of the arylazo grouping in the biological response. <![CDATA[<B>Clinical versus ultrasound examination in the evaluation of hepatosplenic schistosomiasis mansoni in endemic areas</B>]]> The best way to appraise the size of abdominal organs remains undefined. Herein we compare the size of liver and spleen in hepatosplenic schistosomiasis using clinical and ultrasound (US) examination, and the size of the organs measured by US with their visualization below the costal margin ("palpable by US"). For this study, 411 individuals from an endemic area for schistosomiasis mansoni in Brazil have been selected. We found that palpable spleens and left liver lobes are larger than non palpable ones. Also, 23% of normal spleens measured by US were palpable on clinical examination, and 22% of spleens increased in size on US were non palpable. A total of 21% of normal spleens were "palpable by US". We also found 54% of normal sized right liver lobes palpable on clinical examination, whilst 54% of the increased livers, measured by US, were non palpable. About 76% of normal right liver lobes were "palpable by US". We conclude that the association of clinical, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations, in the near future, should give the investigators the necessary tools to perform a more accurate clinical diagnosis of hepatosplenic schistosomiasis mansoni. <![CDATA[<B>Functional complementation of a yeast knockout strain by <I>Schistosoma mansoni </I>Rho1 GTPase in the presence of caffeine, an agent that affects mutants defective in the protein kinase C signal transduction pathway</B>]]> In a previous study, the Schistosoma mansoni Rho1 protein was able to complement Rho1 null mutant Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells at restrictive temperatures and under osmotic stress (low calcium concentration) better than the human homologue (RhoA). It is known that under osmotic stress, the S. cerevisiae Rho1 triggers two distinct pathways: activation of the membrane 1,3-beta-glucan synthase enzymatic complex and activation of the protein kinase C1 signal transduction pathway, promoting the transcription of response genes. In the present work the SmRho1 protein and its mutants smrho1E97P, smrho1L101T, and smrho1E97P, L101T were used to try to clarify the basis for the differential complementation of Rho1 knockout yeast strain by the human and S. mansoni genes. Experiments of functional complementation in the presence of caffeine and in the presence of the osmotic regulator sorbitol were conducted. SmRho1 and its mutants showed a differential complementation of the yeast cells in the presence of caffeine, since smrho1E97P and smrho1E97P, L101T mutants showed a delay in the growth when compared to the yeast complemented with the wild type SmRho1. However, in the presence of sorbitol and caffeine the wild type SmRho1 and mutants showed a similar complementation phenotype, as they allowed yeast growth in all caffeine concentrations tested. <![CDATA[<B>CD4 T cells producing pro-inflammatory interleukin-17 mediate high pathology in schistosomiasis</B>]]> In murine schistosomiasis mansoni, pronounced CD4 T cell-mediated, egg-induced, hepato-intestinal immunopathology and death, whether genetically determined or elicited experimentally, are associated with failure to down-regulate a net pro-inflammatory immune response. Important evidence contributing to this notion comes from the observation that immunization with schistosome egg antigens in CFA (SEA/CFA) causes low pathology C57BL/6 mice to develop an exacerbated form of disease and death in a cytokine milieu characterized by elevated interferon (IFN)-gamma levels. Since such a pro-inflammatory environment presumes a signaling pathway involving interleukin (IL)-12, the SEA/CFA immunization model was used to examine the extent of hepatic immunopathology in the absence of this cytokine. Surprisingly, the IL-12p40 subunit was an absolute requirement for the development of exacerbated disease, whereas the IL-12p35 subunit was not. Moreover, significantly elevated in vitro production of IL-17, but not of IFN-gamma, correlated with the high pathology, and neutralization of IL-17 in vivo resulted in a significant reduction of hepatic inflammation. Our findings clearly demonstrate the pathogenic potential of the novel IL-17-producing T cell subpopulation (ThIL-17), previously shown to mediate chronic inflammation in autoimmune disease. They also imply that IL-23, but not IL-12, is the critical signal necessary to support the pro-inflammatory ThIL-17 subset involved in high pathology schistosomiasis. <![CDATA[<B>Preliminary results on interleukin-4 and interleukin-10 cytokine production in malnourished, inducible nitric oxide synthase-deficient mice with schistosomiasis mansoni infection</B>]]> Schistosoma mansoni infected C57Bl/6 inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)-deficient and non-deficient malnourished mice, both fed a balanced controlled diet were studied. Interleukins, IL-4 and IL-10 responses to soluble egg antigens (SEA) 90 days after infection, were determined. Our results suggest that in iNOS deficient, malnourished mice, 90 days after of infection, nitric oxide has a downregulating effect on IL-4 and IL-10 production. We are currently investigating the biological significance of these findings. <![CDATA[<B>The role of chemokines in <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> infection</B>: <B>insights from human disease and murine models</B>]]> Chemokines are a superfamily of low-molecular-weight cytokines that were initially described for their chemoattractant activity. It is now clear chemokines have several other activities that modulate immune processes. More than 50 chemokines ligands and at least 19 receptors have been described to date. Depending on the number of N-terminal cysteine residues, chemokines are grouped in the subfamilies CXC, CC, C or CX3C. A growing body of evidence suggests a role for chemokines in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases. Our studies involving mice and humans infected with Schistosoma mansoni suggest an important role of the chemokine CCL3 and its receptors (CCR1 and CCR5) in the pathogenesis of severe schistosomiasis. We suggest that the differential activation of CCR1 or CCR5 during the course of schistosomiasis may dictate the outcome of the disease. <![CDATA[<B><I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> antigen-driven interleukin-10 production in infected asthmatic individuals</B>]]> Asthmatics infected with Schistosoma mansoni have a less severe course of asthma and an inhibition of the Th2 inflammatory response that seems to be mediated by interleukin (IL-10). The objective of this study was to evaluate the capacity of some S. mansoni antigens to stimulate IL-10 production in vitro by cells of asthmatic infected individuals. Peripheral bloods mononuclear cells were stimulated with the S. mansoni recombinant antigens Sm22.6, Sm14, P24, and PIII antigen. IL-10 was measured in the supernatants of cultures. As the recombinant antigens were cloned in Escherichia coli, we blocked contaminant endotoxin with polymyxin B added to the cultures. We demonstrated that all antigens used drove high production of IL-10 in S. mansoni infected individuals (n = 13, 408 ± 514 and 401 ± 383 pg/ml, 484 ± 245 pg/ml, 579 ± 468 pg/ml, respectively). In asthmatics infected with S. mansoni (n = 21) rP24 induced higher levels of IL-10 (565 ± 377 pg/ml) when compared to PIII, rSm14 and rSm22.6 (184 ± 209 pg/ml; 292 ± 243 pg/ml; 156 ± 247 pg/ml, respectively). Conclusion: the S. mansoni antigens evaluated in this study stimulated IL-10 production by cells from infected individuals and therefore they have the potential to be used as a modulator of the inflammatory response in asthma. <![CDATA[<B>High expression of co-stimulatory and adhesion molecules are observed on eosinophils during human <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> infection</B>]]> Herein we have focused attention on major phenotypic features of peripheral blood eosinophils from chronic Schistosoma mansoni-infected patients. For this purpose, detailed immunophenotypic profiles of a range of cell surface markers were performed, including activation markers (CD23/CD69/CD25/HLA-DR), co-stimulatory molecules (CD28/CD80/CD86), chemokine receptors (CXCR1/CXCR2/CCR3/CCR5) besides L-selectin-CD62L and adhesion molecules (CD18/CD54). Our major findings pointed out increased frequency of CD23+-cells, besides decreased percentages of CD69+-eosinophils, suggesting a chronic activation status with low frequency of early activated eosinophils in chronic S. mansoni-infected patients (INT) in comparison to non-infected individuals (NI). Moreover, a dichotomic expression of beta-chemokine receptors was observed during human schistosomiasis mansoni with higher CCR5 and lower levels of CCR3 observed between groups. Enhanced expression of co-stimulatory receptors (CD28/CD86) and adhesion molecules (CD54/CD18), besides striking lower frequency of L-selectin+ were reported for eosinophils from INT group as compared to NI. Interestingly, the frequency of CD62L+-eosinophils and a range of cell activation related molecules pointed out an opposite pattern of association in NI and INT, where only INT patients that display lower frequency of CD62L+-eosinophils (first CD62L tertile) kept the unusual relationship between the expression of L-selectin and the CD23 activation marker. These findings suggest that distinct dynamic of activation markers expressed by eosinophils may occur during chronic S. mansoni infection. <![CDATA[<B>Preliminar evaluation of cytokines in the hepatitis C-schistosomiasis co-infection</B>]]> Evaluation of hepatic fibrosis is usually performed by histopathological examination of biopsies. However, this is an invasive and potentially dangerous procedure. Several studies have proposed serum biological markers of hepatic fibrosis. This communication evaluates the use of serum cytokines as markers of hepatic fibrosis in hepatitis C, schistosomiasis, and co-infection. <![CDATA[<B>Application of synthetic peptides in development of a serologic method for laboratory diagnosis of schistosomiasis mansoni</B>]]> The immunoreactivity of seven peptides synthesized from Schistosoma mansoni proteins, was evaluated by dot-blot and ELISA assays using two different sensitization methodologies. The best results were obtained on wells of the Costar 3590 microplates coated with peptides P1, P2, P3, P6, and P7 using conventional methodology. The signals increased considerably (p < 0.0003) on wells sensitized with P1 to P6 using alternative methodology. In contrast, the well coated with peptide P7 presented lower signal when compared with conventional methodology (p = 0.0019). These results, establish the basis for the application of synthetic peptides for laboratory diagnosis of schistosomiasis mansoni. <![CDATA[<B>Cross-immunoreactivity between anti-potato apyrase antibodies and mammalian ATP diphosphohydrolases</B>: <B>potential use of the vegetal protein in experimental schistosomiasis</B>]]> We have previously showed that Schistosoma mansoni ATP-diphosphohydrolase and Solanum tuberosum potato apyrase share epitopes and the vegetable protein has immunostimulatory properties. Here, it was verified the in situ cross-immunoreactivity between mice NTPDases and anti-potato apyrase antibodies produced in rabbits, using confocal microscopy. Liver samples were taken from Swiss Webster mouse 8 weeks after infection with S. mansoni cercariae, and anti-potato apyrase and TRITC-conjugated anti-rabbit IgG antibody were tested on cryostat sections. The results showed that S. mansoni egg ATP diphosphohydrolase isoforms, developed by anti-potato apyrase, are expressed in miracidial and egg structures, and not in granulomatous cells and hepatic structures (hepatocytes, bile ducts, and blood vessels). Therefore, purified potato apyrase when inoculated in rabbit generates polyclonal sera containing anti-apyrase antibodies that are capable of recognizing specifically S. mansoni ATP diphosphohydrolase epitopes, but not proteins from mammalian tissues, suggesting that autoantibodies are not induced during potato apyrase immunization. A phylogenetic tree obtained for the NTPDase family showed that potato apyrase had lower homology with mammalian NTPDases 1-4, 7, and 8. Further analysis of potato apyrase epitopes could implement their potential use in schistosomiasis experimental models. <![CDATA[<B>Aluminum hydroxide associated to <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> 22.6 kDa protein abrogates partial protection against experimental infection but not alter interleukin-10 production</B>]]> The need to develop a vaccine against schistosomiasis led several researches and our group to investigate proteins from Schistosoma mansoni as vaccine candidates. Sm22.6 is a protein from S. mansoni that shows high identity with Sj22.6 and Sh22.6 (79 and 91%, respectively). These proteins are associated with high levels of IgE and protection to reinfection. Previously, we have shown that Sm22.6 induced a partial protection of 34.5% when used together with Freund's adjuvant and produced a Th0 type of immune response with interferon-g and interleukin-4. In this work, mice were immunized with Sm22.6 alone or with aluminum hydroxide adjuvant and high levels of IgG, IgG1, and IgG2a were measured. Unfortunately, no protection was detected. Since IL-10 is a modulating cytokine in schistosomiasis, we also observed a high level of this molecule in splenocytes of vaccinated mice. In conclusion, we did not observe the adjuvant effect of aluminum hydroxide associated with rSm22.6 in protective immunity. <![CDATA[<B>Schistosome vaccine testing</B>: <B>lessons from the baboon model</B>]]> The high level of protection elicited in rodents and primates by the radiation-attenuated schistosome vaccine gives hope that a human vaccine relying on equivalent mechanisms is feasible. In humans, a vaccine would be undoubtedly administered to previously or currently infected individuals. We have therefore used the olive baboon to investigate whether vaccine-induced immunity is compromised by a schistosome infection. We showed that neither a preceding infection, terminated by chemotherapy, nor an ongoing chronic infection affected the level of protection. Whilst IgM responses to vaccination or infection were short-lived, IgG responses rose with each successive exposure to the vaccine. Such a rise was obscured by responses to egg deposition in already-infected animals. In human trials it would be necessary to use indirect estimates of infection intensity to determine vaccine efficacy. Using worm burden as the definitive criterion, we demonstrated that the surrogate measures, fecal eggs, and circulating antigens, consistently overestimated protection. Regression analysis of the surrogate parameters on worm burden revealed that the principal reason for overestimation was the threshold sensitivity of the assays. If we extrapolate our findings to human schistosomiasis mansoni, it is clear that more sensitive indirect measures of infection intensity are required for future vaccine trials.