Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Editorial [ Recent Advances in the Biochemistry and Treatment of Cysticercosis Guest Editor: Marta C. Romano ]

Buy Article:

$68.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

Parasite infections are common in many developing countries and constitute a public health problem. Taenia solium cysticercosis is still an important parasitosis in rural pigs in many developing countries and affects millions of humans in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The tapeworms produce thousand of embryos in eggs that are infective for humans, causing the human disease neurocysticercosis, and porcine cysticercosis in the natural intermediate host, the pig. Recent reports describe the appearance of neurocysticercosis cases in industrialized countries where the disease has been eradicated.

The clinical and radiologic presentation of the disease is highly heterogeneous because of diversity in parasite number, localization, size and stage and intensity of nervous system inflammation. Factors determining this diversity need to be studied. Although the use of cysticidal drugs and a better understanding of the host immune response have had important advances in the last years, neurocysticercosis treatment is not ideal because of adverse drug effects. The inflammation triggered by the parasite can complicate the disease and be the cause of severe sequelae, and the administration of cysticidal drugs frequently increases local inflammation, which can increase the severity of the disease. Hence, research on the biology of the parasite, and search for new treatments, or improvement of the traditional ones continue.

The purpose of the current issue of “Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry” is to review recent developments in cysticercosis. This issue presents review articles from eight groups of researchers who are involved in the investigation of the physio-pathology and treatment of cysticercosis.

Aline Aluja opens the issue with a revision on aspects of the swine disease. As stated above the pork is the intermediate host of the parasite, and the ingestion of the undercooked or raw infected meat by humans spreads the parasite. The ingestion of the tapeworm eggs by the pig or humans cause cysticercosis and neurocysticercosis. The chapter reviews the diagnostic procedures in the pig and the macro and microscopic characteristics of the developmental stages of cysticerci.

The second review by Kaethe Willms describes the ultrastructure of the Taenia solium tapeworm and metacestode (cysticerci) with special emphasis on the reproductive units of the adult tapeworm called proglottids. The chapter reviews work on the surface characteristics of the larval stage as well as the experimental models developed to study morphological and physiological traits of the adult tapeworm which include descriptions of the tissue localization of glycogen deposits, calcium binding proteins, myosin isoforms and gap junctions and steroid producing enzymes.

The next review presented by Luis Terrazas, describes the role of pro- and antinflammatory cytokines in cysticercosis and the host-parasite interactions. The review also emphasizes the importance of STAT-6 mediated signaling. It also describes the dual role of macrophages in the pathology of the infection and the immunomodulatory effect of glucocorticoids in the treatment of cysticercosis.

The fourth review presented by Vaca-Paniagua, Torres-Rivera, Parra-Unda and Abraham Landa focused on the role of three antioxidant enzymes in different aspects of the disease. Oxidative damage produced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide anion (O2 .-), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and hydroxyl radical are some of the major challenges that the parasite must confront. Some of these enzymes are targets for cestocidal drugs.

The review by Morales-Montor, Escobedo, Vargas-Villavicencio and Larralde described the complex neuroimmunoendocrine relationship which develops in the course of the Taenia crassiceps experimental cysticercosis. The role of sex-steroid hormones in the immune profile, changes of c-fos expression in different areas of the nervous system, are relevant points described in the article.

The chapter by Romano, Valdez, Hinojosa, Gómez and Jiménez focused on the endocrine capacity of parasites and in the consequences on their own development. It also discusses the result of blocking hormone effects or inhibiting the enzymes involved in sterol synthesis in different parasites and their relevance in the design of antiparasitic drugs.

The last two articles are related to the medical treatment and prevention of cysticercosis. “Vaccines against cysticercosis” by Sciutto, Fragoso, Hernández, Rosas and Larralde reviews the current knowledge on vaccines against porcine cysticercosis. It highlights new developments designed to increase effectiveness by novel routes and delivery systems. Finally, Jung, Cárdenas, Sciutto and Fleury revised critical aspects of human cysticidal treatments used today, discussing pharmacological aspects, therapy for the different types of neurocysticercosis, control of associated inflammation, as well as the side effects of medication.

I would like to offer my thanks to all the authors of this special issue; this collection could not have been created without their essential input. I also wish to thank Dr. A.B. Reitz and E. Juaristi for the invitation to be the Guest Editor of this special issue.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV)Dept. of Physiology, Biophysics and Neuroscience Av. I.P.N. # 2508 Mexico, D.F., Mexico.

Publication date: March 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more