In vitro culture of Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus vogeli metacestodes: studies on the host-parasite interface.

Hemphill, Andrew; Stettler, Marianne; Walker, Mirjam; Siles-Lucas, Mar; Fink, Renate; Gottstein, Bruno (2003). In vitro culture of Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus vogeli metacestodes: studies on the host-parasite interface. Acta tropica, 85(2), pp. 145-155. Elsevier

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The larval stage of Echinococcus multilocularis causes alveolar echinococcosis (AE) in various mammalians including humans, while Echinococcus vogeli larvae cause a related disease which is also occasionally found in man. Traditionally, Echinococcus metacestodes have been maintained in the laboratory by serial transplantation passages into susceptible animals such as mice or gerbils, enabling the parasite to proliferate asexually. These experimental animal models have been used extensively to investigate host-parasite interactions and to study immunological events occurring at the host-parasite interface. However, with the use of laboratory animals it has always been difficult to investigate in more detail those factors modulating metacestode differentiation, and investigations on gene expression and respective regulation have been hampered by the complexity of the host-parasite interplay. There has been a need for an in vitro culture model which would enable researchers to dissect specific parasite compartments involved in the host-parasite relationship in more detail. This review summarises the studies leading to the development and application of a suitable in vitro culture model for the maintenance and proliferation of E. multilocularis and E. vogeli metacestodes, including the formation of protoscoleces, in a chemically defined medium devoid of host influence. These culture models have been used to study the basic parameters of metacestode in vitro proliferation and differentiation, and for the dissection of the ultrastructure and composition of the acellular laminated layer, the structure of which is predominantly involved in the physical interaction between the parasite and host immune and non-immune cells and tissues. For E. multilocularis, in vitro cultured parasites have been more extensively employed to study the localisation of several antigens, and to generate defined antigens for immunological studies. Although in vitro culture will not completely eliminate the need of animal experimentation, a wider application of this technique could significantly reduce the use of animals, and thus the costs and time required for respective experimental investigations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Parasitology

UniBE Contributor:

Hemphill, Andrew and Gottstein, Bruno


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Bruno Gottstein

Date Deposited:

23 Jul 2018 08:31

Last Modified:

23 Jul 2018 08:31

PubMed ID:



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