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Microbes Infect. 2004 Jan;6(1):113-28.

Pathogenesis and host responses in human onchocerciasis: impact of Onchocerca filariae and Wolbachia endobacteria.

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  • 1Tropical Medicine Section, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Bernhard-Nocht-Strasse 74, 20359, Hamburg, Germany.


Onchocerca volvulus is a tissue-invasive parasitic nematode causing skin and eye pathology in human onchocerciasis. The filariae habour abundant intracellular Wolbachia bacteria, now recognised as obligatory symbionts, and therefore emerging as a novel target for chemotherapy. Recent research demonstrates that both the filariae and endobacteria contribute to the pathogenesis of onchocerciasis, and molecules have been identified that promote inflammatory or counter-inflammatory immune mechanisms, divert the host's immune response or procure evasion of the parasite.

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