Send to

Choose Destination
Histochem Cell Biol. 2006 May;125(5):545-56. Epub 2005 Nov 5.

Cell death in trichomonads: new insights.

Author information

Programa de Ciências Morfológicas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.


Tritrichomonas foetus is an amitochondriate parasite that possesses hydrogenosomes, unusual anerobic energy-producing organelles. In these organisms the "mitochondrial cell death machinery" is supposed to be absent, and the mechanisms that lead to cell demise remain to be elucidated. The presence of a cell death program in trichomonads has already been reported, suggesting the existence of a caspase-like execution pathway in such organisms. Here we demonstrate the alterations provoked by the fungicide griseofulvin and raise the possibility that other cell death pathways may exist in T. foetus. Dramatic changes in trichomonads morphology are presented after griseofulvin treatment, such as intense plasma membrane and nuclear envelope blebbing, nucleus fragmentation, and an abnormal number of oversized vacuoles. One important finding was the exposition of phosphatidylserine (PS) in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane in cells after drug treatment, and also the presence of a high amount of misshapen flagella and tubulin precipitates as vacuolar contents, suggesting an autophagic process of abnormal cellular elements. Interestingly, immunoreactivity for activated caspase-3 was not detected during griseofulvin treatment, a finding distinct from the observed when this cell was treated with H(2)O(2). The possibility of the existence of different pathways to cell death in trichomonads is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center