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Topic review
Updated time: 18 Mar 2021
Submitted by: Karolina Kot
Definition: Acanthamoeba spp. are free-living amoebas, which are widely distributed in soil, water, and air. They are capable of causing granulomatous amebic encephalitis, Acanthamoeba pneumonia, Acanthamoeba keratitis, and disseminated acanthamoebiasis.
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Topic review
Updated time: 11 Aug 2021
Definition: Alaria alata flukes are cosmopolitan parasites. In Europe, the definitive hosts are red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), wolves (Canis lupus), and raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides), as well as animals that belong to the Felidae family. Intermediate hosts, such as snails and frogs, are the sources of infection for definitive hosts. The developmental stages of A. alata mesocercariae may occur in paratenic hosts, including many species of mammals, birds, and reptiles, as well as in wild boars (Sus scrofa), which are important from the zoonotic point of view. Alaria alata is a widespread trematode that is considered a potential cause of a human disease called alariosis, which is associated with the consumption of raw or undercooked meat of intermediate or paratenic hosts of this parasite.
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Topic review
Updated time: 24 May 2021
Definition: During canine leishmaniasis (CanL) due to Leishmania infantum (L. infantum), uncontrolled infection leads to a strong humoral immune response. As a consequence of the production of high antibody levels and the prolonged presence of parasite antigens, circulating immune complexes (CIC) are formed, which can be deposited in certain organs and tissues, inducing vasculitis, uveitis, dermatitis and especially glomerulonephritis and renal failure. A method to detect CIC, and quantify their levels in serum samples from dogs infected with L. infantum has been recently described. It allowed to demonstrate a correlation between CIC levels and disease severity. Thus, CIC measurement may be useful for diagnosis, assessment of disease progression and for monitoring response to treatment. This is an interesting finding, considering that there remains an urgent need for identification of novel biomarkers to achieve a correct diagnosis and for optimal disease staging of dogs suffering from Leishmania infection.
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Topic review
Updated time: 26 Oct 2021
Submitted by: Angelique Vetillard
Definition: Varroa destructor is a parasitic organism feeding and living among honeybees. It transmits viruses like the Deformed Wing Virus which can lead to the decline and death of the colony. Many treatments have been developed over the years like formamidine amitraz, pyrethroid tau-fluvalinate, organophosphate coumaphos or even acids like formic and oxalic to control the spread of the mite. However, none of this solution provides long-term sustainability for honeybees and no resistance from V. destructor. Therefore, the development of alternative tools remains open.
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Topic review
Updated time: 28 Jul 2021
Submitted by: Ursula Panzner
Definition: Causal agents of schistosomiasis are dioecious, digenean schistosomes affecting mankind in 76 countries. Natural and anthropogenic changes impact on breaking species isolation barriers favoring introgressive hybridization, i.e., allelic exchange among gene pools of sympatric, interbreeding species leading to instant large genetic diversity. Phylogenetic distance matters, thus the less species differ phylogenetically the more likely they hybridize.
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Topic review
Updated time: 02 Jul 2021
Submitted by: dewi masyithah Darlan
Definition: Trichuris sp. infection has appeared as a pathological burden in the population, but the immunomodulation features could result in an opportunity to discover novel treatments for diseases with prominent inflammatory responses. Regarding the immunological aspects, the innate immune responses against Trichuris sp. are also responsible for determining subsequent immune responses, including the activation of innate lymphoid cell type 2 (ILC2s), and encouraging the immune cell polarization of the resistant host phenotype. Nevertheless, this parasite can establish a supportive niche for worm survival and finally avoid host immune interference. Trichuris sp. could skew antigen recognition and immune cell activation and proliferation through the generation of specific substances, called excretory/secretory (ESPs) and soluble products (SPs), which mainly mediate its immunomodulation properties.
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Topic review
Updated time: 30 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Danielle Tufts
Definition: Lyme borreliosis is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in the United States, infecting ~476,000 people annually. Borrelia spp. spirochetal bacteria are the causative agents of Lyme disease in humans and are transmitted by Ixodes spp ticks. Clinical manifestations vary depending on which B. burgdorferi sensu stricto outer surface protein C (OspC) genotype infects the patient and only certain genotypes may exhibit neurotropism in humans.
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Topic review
Updated time: 24 Mar 2021
Definition: Trypanosomatids are the causative agents of leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis, which affect about 20 million people in the world’s poorest countries, leading to 95,000 deaths per year. They are often associated with malnutrition, weak immune systems, low quality housing, and population migration. They are generally recognized as neglected tropical diseases. New drugs against these parasitic protozoa are urgently needed to counteract drug resistance, toxicity, and the high cost of commercially available drugs. Microbial bioprospecting for new molecules may play a crucial role in developing a new generation of antiparasitic drugs.
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Topic review
Updated time: 29 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Matthieu Le Bailly
Definition: Paleoparasitology aims to study the natural history of parasitic organisms through the recovery of their preserved remains in archaeological, paleontological, paleoecological, and medical contexts.
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Topic review
Updated time: 26 Aug 2021
Submitted by: Jana Hlaváčová
Definition: Latent infection of the globally spread parasite Toxoplasma gondii in humans has been associated with changes in personality and behavior. Numerous studies have investigated the effect of toxoplasmosis on depression, but their results are inconsistent. Our study focused on the effect of latent toxoplasmosis on depression in men and women in association with their fertility. In 2016–2018, we recruited clients (677 men and 664 women) of the Center for Assisted Reproduction and asked them to complete a standardized Beck Depression Inventory-II. In women without fertility problems, we found higher depression scores in Toxoplasma-positive than in Toxoplasma-negative (p = 0.010, Cohen’s d = 0.48). Toxoplasma-positive infertile men, on the other hand, had lower depression scores than Toxoplasma-negative infertile men (p ≤ 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.48). Our results are consistent with the previously described effects of latent toxoplasmosis, which seem to go in opposite directions regarding the effect on personality and behavior of men and women. Our results could be explained by gender-contrasting reactions to chronic stress associated with lifelong infection. This suggests that due to gender differences in the impact of latent toxoplasmosis, future studies ought to perform separate analyses for women and men.
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