Blastocystis: getting to grips with our guileful guest

Trends Parasitol. 2013 Nov;29(11):523-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Sep 27.


Blastocystis, a common single-celled intestinal parasite of humans and animals, continues to puzzle clinical microbiologists, gastroenterologists, and general practitioners who are still unsure of the clinical significance of the organism. Here we consider some less well-addressed areas of Blastocystis research, which, facilitated by recent technological advances, could potentially turn out to be significant pathways to knowledge. First and foremost we discuss new trends in Blastocystis research, including the 'omics' perspectives, and then highlight some aspects of Blastocystis research in the context of host coevolution, its potential as a biomarker of intestinal functionality, and its relationship to other components of the human intestinal microbiota.

Keywords: Blastocystis; coevolution; genomics; hygiene hypothesis; microbiota; virulence.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Blastocystis / genetics
  • Blastocystis / physiology*
  • Blastocystis Infections / parasitology*
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Intestines / parasitology
  • Intestines / physiology
  • Virulence Factors


  • Virulence Factors