Other Parasites (other + parasite)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Linking physiological traits to impacts on community structure and function: the role of root hemiparasitic Orobanchaceae (ex-Scrophulariaceae)

Summary 1The hemiparasitic Orobanchaceae (ex-Scrophulariaceae) are characterized by a distinctive suite of ecophysiological traits. These traits have important impacts on host plants and non-host plants, and influence interactions with other trophic levels. Ultimately, they can affect community structure and functioning. Here, we review these physiological traits and discuss their ecological consequences. 2The root hemiparasitic Orobanchaceae form a convenient subset of the parasitic angiosperms for study because: they are the most numerous and most widely distributed group of parasitic angiosperms; their physiological characteristics have been well studied; they are important in both agricultural and (semi)natural communities; and they are tractable as experimental organisms. 3Key traits include: high transpiration rates; competition with the host for nutrients and haustorial metabolism of host-derived solutes; uptake of host-derived secondary metabolites; dual autotrophic and heterotrophic carbon nutrition; distinct carbohydrate biochemistry; high nutrient concentrations in green leaf tissue and leaf litter; and small (often hairless and non-mycorrhizal) roots. 4Impacts on the host are detrimental, which can alter competitive balances between hosts and non-hosts and thus result in community change. Further impacts may result from effects on the abiotic environment, including soil water status, nutrient cycling and leaf/canopy temperatures. 5However, for non-host species and for organisms that interact with these (e.g. herbivores and pollinators) or for those that benefit from changes in the abiotic environment, the parasites may have an overall positive effect, suggesting that at the community level, hemiparasites may also be considered as mutualists. 6It is clear that through their distinctive suite of physiological traits hemiparasitic Orobanchaceae, have considerable impacts on community structure and function, can have both competitive and positive interactions with other plants, and can impact on other trophic levels. Many community level effects of parasitic plants can be considered analogous to those of other parasites, predators or herbivores. [source]

Chewing sticks: timeless natural toothbrushes for oral cleansing

C. D. Wu
It is generally accepted that oral hygiene maintenance through regular removal of dental plaque and food deposits is an essential factor in the prevention of dental caries and periodontal disease. Methods for oral hygiene vary from country to country and from culture to culture. Despite the widespread use of toothbrushes and toothpastes, natural methods of tooth cleaning using chewing sticks selected and prepared from the twigs, stems or roots from a variety of plant species have been practised for thousands of years in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas. Selected clinical studies have shown that chewing sticks, when properly used, can be as efficient as toothbrushes in removing dental plaque due to the combined effect of mechanical cleaning and enhanced salivation. It has also been suggested that antimicrobial substances that naturally protect plants against various invading microorganisms or other parasites may leach out into the oral cavity, and that these compounds may benefit the users by protection against cariogenic and periodontopathic bacteria. Some clinical epidemiological studies are in support of this, and many laboratory investigations have suggested the presence of heterogeneous antimicrobial components extractable using different chemical procedures. A few recent studies have identified some of the active antimicrobial compounds. Today, chewing sticks are still used in many developing countries because of religion and/or tradition, and because of their availability, low cost and simplicity. The World Health Organization also encourages their use. The Year 2000 Consensus Report on Oral Hygiene states that chewing sticks may have a role to play in the promotion of oral hygiene, and that evaluation of their effectiveness warrants further research. [source]

Principles of pharmacodynamics and their applications in veterinary pharmacology

Pharmacodynamics (PDs) is the science of drug action on the body or on microorganisms and other parasites within or on the body. It may be studied at many organizational levels , sub-molecular, molecular, cellular, tissue/organ and whole body , using in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro methods and utilizing a wide range of techniques. A few drugs owe their PD properties to some physico-chemical property or action and, in such cases, detailed molecular drug structure plays little or no role in the response elicited. For the great majority of drugs, however, action on the body is crucially dependent on chemical structure, so that a very small change, e.g. substitution of a proton by a methyl group, can markedly alter the potency of the drug, even to the point of loss of activity. In the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century recognition of these facts by Langley, Ehrlich, Dale, Clarke and others provided the foundation for the receptor site hypothesis of drug action. According to these early ideas the drug, in order to elicit its effect, had to first combine with a specific ,target molecule' on either the cell surface or an intracellular organelle. It was soon realized that the ,right' chemical structure was required for drug,target site interaction (and the subsequent pharmacological response). In addition, from this requirement, for specificity of chemical structure requirement, developed not only the modern science of pharmacology but also that of toxicology. In relation to drug actions on microbes and parasites, for example, the early work of Ehrlich led to the introduction of molecules selectively toxic for them and relatively safe for the animal host. In the whole animal drugs may act on many target molecules in many tissues. These actions may lead to primary responses which, in turn, may induce secondary responses, that may either enhance or diminish the primary response. Therefore, it is common to investigate drug pharmacodynamics (PDs) in the first instance at molecular, cellular and tissue levels in vitro, so that the primary effects can be better understood without interference from the complexities involved in whole animal studies. When a drug, hormone or neurotransmitter combines with a target molecule, it is described as a ligand. Ligands are classified into two groups, agonists (which initiate a chain of reactions leading, usually via the release or formation of secondary messengers, to the response) and antagonists (which fail to initiate the transduction pathways but nevertheless compete with agonists for occupancy of receptor sites and thereby inhibit their actions). The parameters which characterize drug receptor interaction are affinity, efficacy, potency and sensitivity, each of which can be elucidated quantitatively for a particular drug acting on a particular receptor in a particular tissue. The most fundamental objective of PDs is to use the derived numerical values for these parameters to classify and sub-classify receptors and to compare and classify drugs on the basis of their affinity, efficacy, potency and sensitivity. This review introduces and summarizes the principles of PDs and illustrates them with examples drawn from both basic and veterinary pharmacology. Drugs acting on adrenoceptors and cardiovascular, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial drugs are considered briefly to provide a foundation for subsequent reviews in this issue which deal with pharmacokinetic (PK),PD modelling and integration of these drug classes. Drug action on receptors has many features in common with enzyme kinetics and gas adsorption onto surfaces, as defined by Michaelis,Menten and Langmuir absorption equations, respectively. These and other derived equations are outlined in this review. There is, however, no single theory which adequately explains all aspects of drug,receptor interaction. The early ,occupation' and ,rate' theories each explain some, but not all, experimental observations. From these basic theories the operational model and the two-state theory have been developed. For a discussion of more advanced theories see Kenakin (1997). [source]

Cryptic diversity and patterns of host specificity in trematode flatworms

The widespread utilization of molecular markers has revealed that a broad spectrum of taxa contain sets of morphologically cryptic, but genetically distinct lineages (Bickford et al. 2007). The identification of cryptic taxa is important as an accurate appreciation of diversity is crucial for a proper understanding of evolutionary and ecological processes. An example is the study of host specificity in parasitic taxa, where an apparent generalist may be found to contain a complex of several more specific species (Smith et al. 2006). Host specificity is a key life history trait that varies greatly among parasites (Poulin & Keeney 2007). While some can exploit a wide range of hosts, others are confined to just a single species. Access to additional hosts increases the resources available to a parasite. However, physiological or ecological constraints can restrict the extension of host range. Furthermore, there may be a trade-off between relaxed specificity and performance: generalism can decrease a parasites ability to adapt to each individual host species, and increase exposure to competition from other parasites (Poulin 1998). Despite the central role that host specificity plays in parasite life history, relatively little is known about how host range is determined in natural systems, and data from field studies are required to evaluate among competing ideas. In this issue, an exciting paper by Locke et al. (2010) makes a valuable contribution toward the understanding of host specificity in an important group of trematode flatworms. Using molecular methods, Locke et al. reveal an almost four-fold increase in the appreciated diversity of their focal group. In combination with a large and elegant sampling design this allows them to accurately assess host specificity for each taxon, and thus draw key insights into the factors that control host range in a dominant parasite group. [source]

Analysis of specific IgE and IgG subclass antibodies for diagnosis of Echinococcus granulosus

SUMMARY The potential roles of specific antibodies of different immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclasses and IgE in serological diagnosis of cystic echinococcosis (CE) were investigated by an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based on Antigen 5 (Ag5). Presence of IgG1 was demonstrated in all sera from 58 patients with CE. The most discriminatory and specific antibodies found in this study belonged to IgG4 and IgE. Only one false-positive reaction was observed with IgG4 and no IgE cross-reactivity occurred with 40 sera from healthy controls. In 36 sera from patients infected with parasites other than CE two false-positive reactions with IgG4 were observed but none occurred with IgE. In immunoblotting, it was shown that IgG1 subclass was responsible for cross-reactivity of human antibodies that reacted with a 38 kDa subunit of Ag5. IgG4 and IgE antibodies could not recognize the 38 kDa subunit and under non-reducing conditions reacted with the 57 kDa subunit without any cross-reactivity to other parasites. The results demonstrated that IgG4 and IgE are the most important antibodies for serological diagnosis of hydatid cyst in an Ag5 based immunoassay system. [source]

How to kill a mocking bug?

Vitor B. Pinheiro
Summary All metazoans have evolved means to protect themselves from threats present in the environment: injuries, viruses, fungi, bacteria and other parasites. Insect protection includes innate physical barriers and both cellular and humoral responses. The insect innate immune response, best characterized in Drosophila melanogaster, is a rapid broad response, triggered by pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) recognition, which produces a limited range of effectors that does not alter upon continued pathogen exposure and lacks immunological memory. The Drosophila response, particularly its humoral response, has been investigated by both low and high-throughput methods. Three signalling pathways conserved between insects and mammals have been implicated in this response: Toll (equivalent to mammalian TLR), Imd (equivalent to TNF,) and Hop (equivalent to JAK/STAT). This review provides an entry point to the insect immune system literature outlining the main themes in D. melanogaster bacterial pathogen detection and humoral and cellular immune responses. The Drosophila immune response is compared with other insects and the mammalian immune system. [source]

Lack of specificity of a single positive 50-kDa band in the electroimmunotransfer blot (EITB) assay for cysticercosis

S. J. Furrows
Abstract Diagnosis of the parasitic infection cysticercosis is usually confirmed by serological assays. The electroimmunotransfer blot (EITB) for cysticercosis is a sensitive and specific assay, which uses six glycoprotein antigens on a strip to detect antibodies to Taenia solium cysticerci. Although the appearance of bands at any of these six sites is considered to be a positive result, a growing body of evidence suggests that the presence of a single 50-kDa band in this assay may not indicate infection. An audit of 984 samples tested over a 3-year period showed that only two (15.4%) of 13 samples with a single 50-kDa band were associated with a diagnosis of cysticercosis. Possible reasons for this include technical problems, cross-reactivity with other parasites or other diseases, or the presence of a non-specific band. The results suggest that the finding of a single 50-kDa band should be interpreted with caution. [source]

Dientamoeba fragilis,a protozoal infection which may cause severe bowel distress

A. Norberg
A retrospective study of 87 patients diagnosed with the protozoan Dientamoeba fragilis was performed due to a recent increase in the number of patients diagnosed with this organism at the Unit of Clinical Parasitology, Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. Medical records were reviewed. The highest incidence was found in pre-school boys, who also had the longest duration of symptoms, with a range of 1,630 weeks. A majority of the patients had symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain and flatus. The diarrhea varied from watery to loose, blood being reported only sporadically. Most patients had traveled outside Europe and had no other parasites in their stools. This study indicates potential pathologic properties in D. fragilis, and prospective studies are recommended. [source]