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Trends Parasitol. 2001 Oct;17(10):480-6.

Intracellular protozoan parasites and apoptosis: diverse strategies to modulate parasite-host interactions.

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Department Bacteriology, Georg August University of Göttingen, Kreuzbergring 57, D-37075 Göttingen, Germany.


Programmed cell death (apoptosis) is an important regulator of the host's response during infection with a variety of intracellular protozoan parasites. Parasitic pathogens have evolved diverse strategies to induce or inhibit host-cell apoptosis, thereby modulating the host's immune response, aiding dissemination within the host or facilitating intracellular survival. Here, we review the molecular and cell-biological mechanisms of the pathogen-induced modulation of host-cell apoptosis and its effects on the parasite-host interaction and the pathogenesis of parasitic diseases. We also discuss the previously unrecognized phenomenon of apoptotic cell death in (unicellular) protozoan parasites and its potential implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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