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Trends Parasitol. 2018 Aug;34(8):683-693. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2018 Jun 29.

Trichomonas vaginalis: Pathogenesis, Symbiont Interactions, and Host Cell Immune Responses.

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Department of Biological Sciences, California State Polytechnic University, 3801 West Temple Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, University of California, 1602 Molecular Sciences Building, 609 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1489, USA. Electronic address:


The parasite Trichomonas vaginalis (Tv) causes a highly prevalent sexually transmitted infection. As an extracellular pathogen, the parasite mediates adherence to epithelial cells to colonize the human host. In addition, the parasite interfaces with the host immune system and the vaginal microbiota. Modes of Tv pathogenesis include damage to host tissue mediated by parasite killing of host cells, disruption of steady-state vaginal microbial ecology, and eliciting inflammation by activating the host immune response. Recent Tv research has uncovered new players that contribute to multifactorial mechanisms of host-parasite adherence and killing, and has examined the relationship between Tv and vaginal bacteria. Mechanisms that may lead to parasite recognition and killing, or the evasion of host immune cells, have also been revealed.


Trichomonas vaginalis; cytokines; immunity; microbiota; neutrophils; pathogenesis

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