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Int J Parasitol. 2001 Aug;31(10):1093-100.

Stability and reproductive fitness of Schistosoma mansoni isolates with decreased sensitivity to praziquantel.

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  • 1Parasitology, Pathology, Immunology and Pharmacology Departments, Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, Warrak El-Hadar, Imbaba, P.O. Box 30, 12411, Giza, Egypt.


These studies are focused on schistosomes derived from human infections not cured by three successive doses of praziquantel that also produced infections in mice that were significantly more difficult to cure than infections with control worms. Half (three of six) of these isolates retained their decreased response to praziquantel after multiple passages through the life-cycle in the absence of therapeutic pressure. Two of the isolates, including the one initially least sensitive to praziquantel; reverted, to a sensitivity not significantly different from controls. For example, the EE6 isolate initially required 680 mg/kg praziquantel to affect a 50% reduction in worm load in murine infections, but after only six passages through the life cycle over 5 years this was reduced to 113 mg/kg, not different from control infections. The stability of some of the isolates and the reversion of others indicates that the biological or genetic factors conferring decreased praziquantel response varies among the isolates. The three isolates that retained decreased sensitivity to praziquantel all showed compromises in reproductive fitness in the laboratory, expressed most frequently as a decreased cercarial production from snails infected with those isolates compared to controls. For example, the total cercarial production of snails infected with the EE10 isolate was only 57% that of controls. The reversion of some of the isolates to a praziquantel sensitive state and the decreased reproductive fitness of those that did not revert suggest that there is some biological cost associated with the relative praziquantel insensitivity of these worms, which could help limit the impact of such isolates in the field. Infections with the less sensitive isolates also produced significantly less circulating schistosomal antigen in mice, suggesting that a decrease in the host immune response elicited by these worms could be one of the factors contributing to the diminished praziquantel efficacy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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