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Journal Article

Host Identification by Schistosoma japonicum Cercariae

Wilfried Haas, Monika Granzer and Edito G. Garcia
The Journal of Parasitology
Vol. 73, No. 3 (Jun., 1987), pp. 568-577
DOI: 10.2307/3282138
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3282138
Page Count: 10
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Host Identification by Schistosoma japonicum Cercariae
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Abstract

Attachment, the first phase of host identification by Schistosoma japonicum cercariae, can occur in 2 different ways. Cercariae clinging to the water surface simply swing around and transfer to the host skin. Free-swimming cercariae behave like S. mansoni: upon touching a substrate, they switch from tailward to forward movement, swim in an arc, and attach to it with the penetration organ. Neither type of attachment is influenced by chemical, thermal, or specific mechanical stimuli from the host. The second phase, remaining on the host, requires a solid hydrophobic surface and seems to depend only on the cercaria's ability to cling to it. This phase is not influenced by chemical or thermal stimuli. The third phase, creeping across the host surface, is independent of chemical and mechanical stimuli. Cercariae migrate in thermal gradients to a preferred temperature of 37 ± 3 C and then attempt to penetrate. Penetration, the fourth phase, was evoked by human skin surface lipids. The free fatty acid (FA) fraction was identified as exclusively stimulating components. Saturated FA's were effective at chain lengths between 10 and 14 carbon atoms (pH 7.0), and unsaturated FA's were effective at longer chains and their activity increased with increasing number of double bonds. Dog skin surface components did not stimulate cercarial penetration, which can be attributed to the lack of free FA's. A temperature of 32-40 C also stimulated penetration responses, which might be the main stimulus in animal hosts, whose skin surfaces contain no or only a few free FA's. FA's and heat evoked a transformation of cercarial tegument simultaneous with penetration behavior, making the organisms osmotically sensitive. The host identification of S. japonicum cercariae is very nonspecific compared with the differentiated host recognition of S. mansoni.

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