Blastocystis: past pitfalls and future perspectives

Trends Parasitol. 2012 Aug;28(8):327-34. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Jun 26.


Blastocystis is a genetically heterogeneous protist found in the intestinal tract (IT) of many vertebrates, and although it is implicated in a variety of human intestinal disorders, data regarding the clinical relevance of Blastocystis is at best speculative. Several research issues, including a lack of standardization across studies, the potential for intrasubtype variation in pathogenicity, and difficulties associated with diagnostics for many idiopathic disorders of the human IT have led to conflicting reports in support of a role for Blastocystis pathogenicity. Here, several research areas and methodologies are reviewed that if integrated appropriately into a prospective study may prove useful and facilitate a better understanding of the role of Blastocystis in human health and disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocystis / genetics
  • Blastocystis / pathogenicity*
  • Blastocystis Infections / epidemiology
  • Blastocystis Infections / microbiology
  • Blastocystis Infections / parasitology*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Intestines / parasitology
  • Parasite Load
  • Prevalence
  • Virulence / genetics
  • Virulence Factors


  • Virulence Factors