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Exp Parasitol. 1988 Jun;66(1):78-85.

Schistosoma mansoni: relationship between cercarial production levels and snail host susceptibility.

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  • 1Biomedical Research Institute, Rockville, Maryland 20852.


Two populations of Biomphalaria glabrata snails differing slightly in their susceptibility to Schistosoma mansoni infection showed dramatic differences in cercarial output per snail. Exposed to five or more miracidia, snails from a group with a 90-100% susceptibility rate (Group A) produced nearly twice the number of cercariae as those from a group with a 70-80% susceptibility rate (Group B). Exposure of individual snails to known numbers of miracidia resulted in higher numbers of primary (mother) sporocysts in Group A snails than in Group B snails. However, monomiracidial exposure of snails from both groups resulted in equivalent numbers of cercariae produced per positive snail, indicating that, once established, all primary sporocysts possess a similar reproductive potential. Morphometric analysis of serially sectioned 9-day-old primary sporocysts supported this conclusion; the size of the primary sporocysts and the size and numbers of secondary (daughter) sporocysts within each primary sporocyst were comparable in snails from both groups. The data indicate cercarial production in this system is regulated prior to, and/or during, early development of the primary sporocyst.

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