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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1992 Mar;51(1):73-9.

The reversible effect of glucose on the energy metabolism of Schistosoma mansoni cercariae and schistosomula.

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Laboratory of Veterinary Biochemistry, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


This study on isolated cercarial bodies demonstrates that the biological transformation from cercaria to schistosomulum and the biochemical transition from an aerobic to an anaerobic energy metabolism are separate processes, which are not necessarily linked. The metabolic transition depends on the external glucose concentration and is fully reversible. In the presence of only a tracer amount of [6-14C]glucose, carbon dioxide was the major end product, but at higher glucose concentrations mainly lactate was formed. This effect could be demonstrated in cercarial bodies in water as well as in fully transformed schistosomula. In non-transformed cercariae a change towards a more anaerobic energy metabolism could be induced by an increase in the external glucose concentration, which demonstrated that the biochemical transition can occur in the absence of the biological transformation. Furthermore, the biological transformation can occur without a concomitant biochemical transition: in the presence of 5 mM glucose, lactate production by cercarial bodies during transformation was increased 50-fold, whereas in the presence of only a tracer amount of glucose the metabolic profile remained that of cercariae. Also, in fully transformed schistosomula, this transition to a more anaerobic energy metabolism was induced by increased glucose concentrations, but at low glucose concentrations carbon dioxide was the major end product, as in cercariae. The effect of external glucose on the metabolism was fully reversible. After a high glucose concentration had induced a more anaerobic metabolism in cercariae in water, the metabolism returned to an aerobic one upon removal of the glucose. Likewise, the metabolism in schistosomula switched back and forth between anaerobic and aerobic patterns, following successive changes in the glucose concentration.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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