Kinetoplastids: related protozoan pathogens, different diseases

J Clin Invest. 2008 Apr;118(4):1301-10. doi: 10.1172/JCI33945.


Kinetoplastids are a group of flagellated protozoans that include the species Trypanosoma and Leishmania, which are human pathogens with devastating health and economic effects. The sequencing of the genomes of some of these species has highlighted their genetic relatedness and underlined differences in the diseases that they cause. As we discuss in this Review, steady progress using a combination of molecular, genetic, immunologic, and clinical approaches has substantially increased understanding of these pathogens and important aspects of the diseases that they cause. Consequently, the paths for developing additional measures to control these "neglected diseases" are becoming increasingly clear, and we believe that the opportunities for developing the drugs, diagnostics, vaccines, and other tools necessary to expand the armamentarium to combat these diseases have never been better.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Genome, Protozoan / genetics
  • Humans
  • Kinetoplastida / drug effects
  • Kinetoplastida / genetics
  • Kinetoplastida / metabolism
  • Kinetoplastida / pathogenicity*
  • Protozoan Infections / diagnosis
  • Protozoan Infections / drug therapy
  • Protozoan Infections / parasitology*
  • Protozoan Infections / prevention & control
  • Protozoan Vaccines / genetics
  • Protozoan Vaccines / immunology


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Protozoan Vaccines