Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Stem Cells Discovered in Deadly Parasitic Flatworms

Published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The study was described in Nature on February 28, 2013.

The flatworms that cause the tropical disease schistosomiasis can live and reproduce inside infected humans for decades. In a new study, researchers identified the stem cells that may be responsible.

The discovery could lay the groundwork for new strategies to treat the devastating disease caused by the parasite.

Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia or snail fever, primarily affects people living in the tropical regions of developing countries.

Children who are repeatedly infected can develop anemia, malnutrition and learning difficulties. After years of infection, the parasite can damage the liver, intestine, lungs and bladder.

Rarely, it can also cause seizures, paralysis or spinal cord inflammation. More than 200 million people have this disease and more than 700 million people are at risk of infection.

Microscopic Schistosoma parasites infect people who are wading, swimming or bathing in freshwater inhabited by infected snails. The parasites, known as schistosomes, burrow into human skin and then grow inside blood vessels.

Female worms produce eggs that can travel to the intestine, liver, bladder or other organs. The eggs can be released back into the water through urine or feces, starting the cycle again.

Dr. Phillip Newmark and colleagues at the University of Illinois have spent years studying flatworms. They knew that planarians, non-parasitic worms popular in biology classrooms, have a type of stem cell known as a neoblast.

Neoblasts allow planarians to regenerate damaged organs and body parts. The scientists wondered whether schistosomes might have a similar type of stem cell.

Their study, described in Nature on February 28, 2013, was funded in part by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The scientists used a labeling technique to identify a population of cells from schistosomes that was able to grow and divide. They found that these cells had a distinct structure and pattern of gene expression similar to neoblasts.

When the researchers used a fluorescent marker to tag the cells, they detected the marker in new cells 3 days later. This ability to divide and produce new cells is a key characteristic of stem cells.

The scientists injected schistosome-infected mice with a marker to look at the pattern of tagged cells at several time points. They located the tag in intestinal cells and in body wall muscle cells of the parasite after 7 days. This revealed that the cells could turn into different types of cells (differentiate), another key behavior of stem cells.

The team next turned their attention to signal pathways that might exist within these stem cells. Using their knowledge of planarians, they focused on the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor family, which is expressed in proliferating planarian cells.

They identified a gene, SmfgfrA, in the adult stem cells that codes for the parasite’s version of a FGF receptor. Using a technique called RNA interference (RNAi), they turned off the gene and found that it’s required for maintenance of the stem cells in the worm.

“We started with the big question: How does a parasite survive in a host for decades?” says Newmark. “That implies that it has ways of repairing and maintaining its tissues. This study gives us insight into the really interesting biology of these parasites, and it may also open up new doors for making their life cycle a lot shorter.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,400+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Finding Factors That Protect Against Flu
A clinical trial examining the body’s response to seasonal flu suggests new approaches for evaluating the effectiveness of seasonal flu vaccines.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Factors Influencing Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Uncovered
The long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited, new research suggests.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Study Finds Factors That May Influence Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness
Researchers at NIH have suggested that the long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Serotonin Transporter Structure Revealed
Researchers determined the 3-D structure of the serotonin transporter and visualized how two common antidepressants interact with the protein.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Improving Flu Vaccine Effectiveness
NIH study finds factors that may influence influenza vaccine effectiveness.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Submissions Open for the Cancer Moonshot Program
NCI opens online platform to submit ideas about research for Cancer Moonshot.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Migration Creates Cancer Cell Vulnerabilities
Scientists found that migration can damage cancer cells’ nuclei and DNA, requiring repairs for their survival. The results may open new avenues for targeting metastatic cancer.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
NIH Sequences Genome of a Fungus
Researchers at the Institute have sequenced genome of human, mouse and rat Pneumocystis that cause life-threatening Pneumonia in immunosuppressed hosts.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
NIH Awards Grants to Explore Vaccine Adjuvants
NIH awards six grants to explore how combination adjuvants improve vaccines.
Wednesday, April 06, 2016
Children With Cushing Syndrome May Have Higher Suicide Risk
Researchers at NIH have found that depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts increase after treatment.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Experimental Vaccine Protects Against Dengue Virus
An experimental dengue vaccine protected all the volunteers who received it from infection with a live dengue virus.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Couples’ Pre-Pregnancy Caffeine Consumption Linked to Miscarriage Risk
Researchers at NIH have found daily multivitamin before and after conception greatly reduces miscarriage risk.
Friday, March 25, 2016
Study Finds Mindfulness Meditation Offers Relief For Low-Back Pain
Researchers at NIH have found that the MBSR and CBT may prove more effective than usual treatment in alleviating chronic low-back pain.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
3-D Technology Enriches Human Nerve Cells For Transplant to Brain
This platform is expected to make transplantation of neurons a viable treatment for a broad range of human neurodegenerative disorders.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Scientists Discover Non-Opioid Pain Pathway in the Brain
Researchers at NIH have discovered evidence for the existence of a non-opioid process in the brain to reduce pain through mindfulness meditation.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Scientific News
Releasing Cancer Cells for Better Analysis
A new device developed at the University of Michigan could provide a non-invasive way to monitor the progress of an advanced cancer treatment.
Releasing Cancer Cells for Better Analysis
A new device developed at the University of Michigan could provide a non-invasive way to monitor the progress of an advanced cancer treatment.
Apricot Kernels Pose Risk of Cyanide Poisoning
Eating more than three small raw apricot kernels, or less than half of one large kernel, in a serving can exceed safe levels. Toddlers consuming even one small apricot kernel risk being over the safe level.
Cell Transplant Treats Parkinson’s in Mice
A University of Wisconsin—Madison neuroscientist has inserted a genetic switch into nerve cells so a patient can alter their activity by taking designer drugs that would not affect any other cell.
Understanding Female HIV Transmission
Glowing virus maps points of entry through entire female reproductive tract for first time.
Genetic Markers Influence Addiction
Differences in vulnerability to cocaine addiction and relapse linked to both inherited traits and epigenetics, U-M researchers find.
Lab-on-a-Chip for Detecting Glucose
By integrating microfluidic chips with fiber optic biosensors, researchers in China are creating ultrasensitive lab-on-a-chip devices to detect glucose levels.
A lncRNA Regulates Repair of DNA Breaks in Breast Cancer Cells
Findings give "new insight" into biology of tough-to-treat breast cancer.
COPD Linked to Increased Bacterial Invasion
Persistent inflammation in COPD may result from a defect in the immune system that allows airway bacteria to invade deeper into the lung.
Detection of HPV in First-Void Urine
Similar sensitivity of HPV test on first void urine sample compared to cervical smear.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,400+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!