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 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,600+ 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

Manufactured Stem Cells to Advance Clinical Research
Clinical-grade cell line will enable development of new therapies and accelerate early-stage clinical research.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Rates of Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use Disorder Double in 10 Years
Researchers at NIH have found that the nonmedical use of prescription opioids has more than doubled among adults in the United States from 2001-2002 to 2012-2013.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Peanut Allergy Prevention Strategy is Nutritionally Safe
Early-life peanut consumption does not affect duration of breastfeeding or children’s growth and nutrition.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
NIH Launches Large Study of Pregnant Women in Areas Affected by Zika virus
Researchers at NIH and Fiocruz have begun a study to evaluate the magnitude of health risks that Zika virus infection poses to pregnant women and their developing fetuses and infants.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
New Imaging Method May Predict Risk of Post-Treatment Brain Bleeding After Stroke
Researchers at NIH have developed technique that provides new insight into stroke.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Study Reveals Central Role of Endocannabinoids in Habit Formation
The new study findings point to a previously unknown mechanism in the brain that regulates the transition between goal-directed and habitual behaviors.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Predicting Effective Drug Combinations For TB
Researchers analyzed gene regulatory networks to explain the effectiveness of an experimental drug combination against drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Genomic Data Commons Launched
Part of the National Cancer Moonshot, the GDC will centralize and standardize accessible data.
Tuesday, June 07, 2016
Prevention May be Essential to Reducing Racial Disparities in Stroke
Researchers at NIH have found study provides clues to differences in stroke deaths between blacks and whites.
Friday, June 03, 2016
NIH Funds Biobank To Support Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program
$142 million over five years will be awarded to the Mayo Clinic to establish the world’s largest research-cohort biobank for the PMI Cohort Program
Friday, May 27, 2016
Advancing Protein Visualization
Cryo-EM methods can determine structures of small proteins bound to potential drug candidates.
Friday, May 27, 2016
New NIH-EPA Research Centers to Study Environmental Health Disparities
Scientists will partner with community organizations to study these concerns and develop culturally appropriate ways to reduce exposure to harmful environmental conditions.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Nanoparticles Target, Transform Fat Tissue
Nanoparticles designed to target white fat and convert it to calorie-burning brown fat slowed weight gain in obese mice without affecting food intake. This proof-of-concept work could lead to new therapies to treat obesity.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Visual Impairment, Blindness Cases in U.S. Expected to Double by 2050
Researchers at NIH have suggested that there is a need for increased screening and interventions to identify and address treatable causes of vision loss.
Friday, May 20, 2016
Drug Might Help Treat Sepsis
A DNA enzyme called Top1 plays a key role in turning on genes that cause inflammation in mouse and human cells in response to pathogens. A drug blocking this enzyme rescued mice from lethal inflammatory responses, suggesting a potential treatment for sepsis.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Scientific News
Platelets are the Pathfinders for Leukocyte Extravasation During Inflammation
Findings from the study could help in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory pathologies.
ASMS 2016: Targeting Mass Spectrometry Tools for the Masses
The expanding application range of MS in life sciences, food, energy, and health sciences research was highlighted at this year's ASMS meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
Benchtop Automation Trends
Gain a better understanding of current interest in and future deployment of benchtop automated systems.
Manufactured Stem Cells to Advance Clinical Research
Clinical-grade cell line will enable development of new therapies and accelerate early-stage clinical research.
Dengue Virus Exposure May Amplify Zika Infection
Researchers at Imperial College London have found that the previous exposure to the dengue virus may increase the potency of Zika infection.
Gender Determination in Forensic Investigations
This study investigated the effectiveness of lip print analysis as a tool in gender determination.
Identifying Novel Types of Forensic Markers in Degraded DNA
Scientists have tried to verify the nucleosome protection hypothesis by discovering STRs within nucleosome core regions, using whole genome sequencing.
Proteins in Blood of Heart Disease Patients May Predict Adverse Events
Nine-protein test shown superior to conventional assessments of risk.
Higher Frequency of Huntington's Disease Mutations Discovered
University of Aberdeen study shows that the gene change that causes Huntington's disease is much more common than previously thought.
Starving Stem Cells May Enable Scientists To Build Better Blood Vessels
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have uncovered how changes in metabolism of human embryonic stem cells help coax them to mature into specific cell types — and may improve their function in engineered organs or tissues.
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
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,600+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!