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Acetylcholinesterase and Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Schistosomes and Other Parasitic Helminths

16 September 2017 - 8:03pm
Molecules, Vol. 22, No. 9. (14 September 2017), 1550, doi: 10.3390/molecules22091550

Schistosomiasis, which is caused by helminth trematode blood flukes of the genus Schistosoma, is a serious health and economic problem in tropical areas, and the second most prevalent parasitic disease after malaria. Currently, there is no effective vaccine available and treatment is entirely dependent on a single drug, praziquantel (PZQ), raising a significant potential public health threat due to the emergence of PZQ drug resistance. It is thus urgent and necessary to explore novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of schistosomiasis. Previous studies demonstrated that acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) play important roles in the schistosome nervous system and ion channels, both of which are targeted by a number of currently approved and marketed anthelminthic drugs. To improve understanding of the functions of the cholinergic system in schistosomes, this article reviews previous studies on AChE and nAChRs in schistosomes and other helminths and discusses their potential as suitable targets for vaccine development and drug design against schistosomiasis.
Hong You, Chang Liu, Xiaofeng Du, Donald McManus
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