Schistosoma mansoni: sex-specific modulation of parasite growth by host immune signals

Exp Parasitol. Jan-Feb 2004;106(1-2):59-61. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2004.01.003.


Development of female schistosomes from infectious cercariae to mature egg-producing adults requires both male schistosomes and an intact adaptive immune system. By examining single sex infections in immunodeficient mice, we provide evidence that female schistosome development is not directly influenced by the adaptive immune system, whereas male development is. Our data are consistent with a sequential model of schistosome development, where the adaptive immune system signals development of mature males, which subsequently stimulate development of mature females. The male schistosome therefore appears to play a central role both in transducing signals from the adaptive immune system and in facilitating female development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomphalaria
  • Cricetinae
  • Female
  • Genes, RAG-1
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Schistosoma mansoni / growth & development
  • Schistosoma mansoni / immunology*
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / immunology*
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / parasitology
  • Sex Factors


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • RAG-1 protein