Where do parasites hide?
Humans and other animals infected with Trypanosomiasis - diseases caused by trypanosomes such as sleeping sickness and Chagas disease (human) and nagana (cattle) - often do not have parasites in the blood. In an open source review article published recently in the scientific journal Open Biology, of The Royal Society*, the group led by Luísa Figueiredo, a leading researcher for iMM, discusses in which organs these parasites are hidden, the advantages of this tropism and what are the consequences for the severity of the disease.
"It is known that in a host, tissue tropism may change during the course of the infection. For example, acute infection with Toxoplasma gondii is associated with invasion and pathology of intestinal cells, whereas the chronic phase is characterised by cerebral invasion and neurological damage. In most cases, the reasons underlying the choice of tissue for a parasite remain poorly understood, but are probably multifactorial", explains Sara Silva Pereira, one of the authors of the article.
"In this article we focused on Trypanosoma infections in mammals and what is currently known about this tissue tropism. We discuss comparatively relevant findings from other fields of parasitology, reflecting on the new unresolved issues and the potential impact that the most recent findings may have on clinical treatment and disease control strategies, "adds Luísa Figueiredo.
*Sara Silva Pereira, Sandra Trindade, Mariana De Niz, Luisa M. Figueiredo (2019) Tissue tropism in parasitic diseases. Open Biol. 9: 190036. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsob.190036
Published: 15 May 2019