Blastocystis Parasite Blog

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Blastocystis may be found in more than 1 billion people worldwide. We investigate the role of this parasite in health and disease. Blastocystis is a protist parasitising the intestine of humans and a variety of animals. We estimate that at least 1 billion people worldwide are colonised by this parasite, most of whom probably experience no more episodes of intestinal upset, e.g. diarrhoea, than the average individual. Blastocystis may colonise the intestine for a long time (i.e. months or years). Many species of Blastocystis are known, of which at least 9 have been found in humans. Such species are currently termed "subtypes" (STs). ST1, ST2, ST3 and ST4 are common in Europe. While ST1, ST2, and ST3 appear to have equal prevalences in patients with diarrhoea and healthy individuals, ST4 appears to be epidemiologically linked to diarrhoea and/or chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There is no known efficient eradication strategy for Blastocystis. Although metronidazole is often prescribed for Blastocystis infections, there is conflicting reports on its efficacy. Even in combination with a luminal agent, such as paromomycin, Blastocystis eradication cannot be guaranteed. Read more here. I'm very interested in studies aiming to explore 1) Blastocystis in the environment 2) Why some people are colonised while others are not 3) Whether Blastocystis colonisation requires a certain intestinal flora (e.g. enterotype) to establish 4) To which extent human Blastocystis is acquired from animal reservoirs 5) Potential differences in virulence between subtypes or strains (by for instance comparative genomic studies) During my Blastocystis research, I and my colleagues have discovered/developed 1) New Blastocystis species 2) Precise molecular methods for accurate detection (PCR) 3) High resolution typing systems (MLST) for strain identification of Blastocystis 4) A standardised nomenclature for Blastocystis 5) A publicly available database for identification of subtypes and sequence data despository (please see links below) Using microscopy-, culture-based and molecular tools we have generated data that have shed light over the transmission and distribution of Blastocystis subtypes in human and animals.

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  • March 1, 2016
  • 05:39 PM
  • 260 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (FEB 2016) - Rash Edition

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

The February entry in the "This Month in Blastocystis Research" blog post series is all on Blastocystis and chronic urticaria (hives).... Read more »

Armentia A, Méndez J, Gómez A, Sanchís E, Fernández A, de la Fuente R, & Sánchez P. (1993) Urticaria by Blastocystis hominis. Successful treatment with paromomycin. Allergologia et immunopathologia, 21(4), 149-51. PMID: 8237719  

Lepczyńska M, Chen WC, & Dzika E. (2016) Mysterious chronic urticaria caused by Blastocystis spp.?. International journal of dermatology, 55(3), 259-66. PMID: 26469206  

Vogelberg C, Stensvold CR, Monecke S, Ditzen A, Stopsack K, Heinrich-Gräfe U, & Pöhlmann C. (2010) Blastocystis sp. subtype 2 detection during recurrence of gastrointestinal and urticarial symptoms. Parasitology international, 59(3), 469-71. PMID: 20363362  

  • January 30, 2016
  • 01:17 PM
  • 350 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (JAN 2016)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

The first post in the This Month in Blastocystis Research series in 2016 is about Blastocystis epidemiology in India (including IBS patients), views on treatment, and Blastocystis in non-human primates.... Read more »

Pandey PK, Verma P, Marathe N, Shetty S, Bavdekar A, Patole MS, Stensvold CR, & Shouche YS. (2015) Prevalence and subtype analysis of Blastocystis in healthy Indian individuals. Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 296-9. PMID: 25701123  

Kurt Ö, Doğruman Al F, & Tanyüksel M. (2016) Eradication of Blastocystis in humans: Really necessary for all?. Parasitology international. PMID: 26780545  

  • December 29, 2015
  • 04:30 PM
  • 464 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (DEC 2015)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Practically all Blastocystis research has focussed on identifying a role for the parasite in disease. Meanwhile, no one has really tried to looked into what Blastocystis may tell us about human health. Together with partner labs, our lab has produced data suggesting that Blastocystis carriage is extremely common, and probably also extremely long lasting. We have also shown that the parasite is associated with certain gut microbial communities and that it is more common in healthy individuals tha........ Read more »

  • December 1, 2015
  • 04:48 PM
  • 479 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (NOV 2015) - Persian Gulf Edition

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

In the 'This Month' Series, I highlight three surveys on Blastocystis from the Persian Gulf (Qatar, UAE, and Iran), and highlight issues that may be associated with epidemiolocial studies. ... Read more »

  • October 5, 2015
  • 12:50 PM
  • 506 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (SEP 2015)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Slightly delayed, the "This Month" post is mainly on Blastocystis survyes, detection and host specificity.... Read more »

Stensvold CR, Suresh GK, Tan KS, Thompson RC, Traub RJ, Viscogliosi E, Yoshikawa H, & Clark CG. (2007) Terminology for Blastocystis subtypes--a consensus. Trends in parasitology, 23(3), 93-6. PMID: 17241816  

Wang W, Cuttell L, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Inpankaew T, Owen H, & Traub RJ. (2013) Diversity of Blastocystis subtypes in dogs in different geographical settings. Parasites , 215. PMID: 23883734  

  • September 1, 2015
  • 08:38 AM
  • 589 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (AUG 2015)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

When is a parasite not a parasite? Where lies the border between parasites and mutalists? Are we letting some of our common colonisers down by mere predjudice? Find out in This Month of Blastocystis Research (AUG 2015).... Read more »

Andersen LO, Bonde I, Nielsen HB, & Stensvold CR. (2015) A retrospective metagenomics approach to studying Blastocystis. FEMS microbiology ecology, 91(7). PMID: 26130823  

Lukeš J, Stensvold CR, Jirků-Pomajbíková K, & Wegener Parfrey L. (2015) Are Human Intestinal Eukaryotes Beneficial or Commensals?. PLoS pathogens, 11(8). PMID: 26270819  

Scanlan PD, Stensvold CR, Rajilić-Stojanović M, Heilig HG, De Vos WM, O'Toole PW, & Cotter PD. (2014) The microbial eukaryote Blastocystis is a prevalent and diverse member of the healthy human gut microbiota. FEMS microbiology ecology, 90(1), 326-30. PMID: 25077936  

  • April 30, 2015
  • 07:41 PM
  • 782 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (APR 2015)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

A post on trending Blastocystis research and on advances in the discoveries of plant extracts with anti-Blastocystis activity.... Read more »

  • November 29, 2014
  • 03:40 AM
  • 803 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (NOV 2014): Blasting Blastocystis Edition

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

A few notes on deliberate and inadvertent attempts to eradicate Blastocystis.... Read more »

  • October 29, 2014
  • 01:45 PM
  • 934 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (OCT 2014) - Trick or Treat Edition

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

October was mostly about conferences and funding. And why is no one studying endosymbiosis in Blastocystis?... Read more »

Fletcher S, Caprarelli G, Merif J, Andresen D, Hal SV, Stark D, & Ellis J. (2014) Epidemiology and geographical distribution of enteric protozoan infections in sydney, australia. Journal of public health research, 3(2), 298. PMID: 25343139  

Nowack EC, & Melkonian M. (2010) Endosymbiotic associations within protists. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 365(1541), 699-712. PMID: 20124339  

Prodeus TV, Zelia OP, Khlebnikova TA, & Pikul' DA. (2014) [Extraenteric infection caused by Blastocystis spp. in a female patient with liver abscess]. Meditsinskaia parazitologiia i parazitarnye bolezni, 6-9. PMID: 25296418  

  • September 30, 2014
  • 12:34 PM
  • 993 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (SEP 2014)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Do companion animals contribute to human Blastocystis? Do IBS patients have a higher prevalence of Blastocystis and Dientamoeba fragilis than healthy invididuals? Check out this issue of 'This Month in Blastocystis Research'.... Read more »

Krogsgaard LR, Engsbro AL, Stensvold CR, Vedel Nielsen H, & Bytzer P. (2014) The Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites is not Greater Among Individuals with IBS: a Population-Based Case-Control Study. Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. PMID: 25229421  

Wang W, Cuttell L, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Inpankaew T, Owen H, & Traub RJ. (2013) Diversity of Blastocystis subtypes in dogs in different geographical settings. Parasites , 215. PMID: 23883734  

Wawrzyniak I, Poirier P, Viscogliosi E, Dionigia M, Texier C, Delbac F, & Alaoui HE. (2013) Blastocystis, an unrecognized parasite: an overview of pathogenesis and diagnosis. Therapeutic advances in infectious disease, 1(5), 167-78. PMID: 25165551  

  • August 24, 2014
  • 09:38 AM
  • 859 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (AUG 2014)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

August 2014 saw interesting data emerging on Blastocystis in the background population, mRNA polyadnylation in the Blastocystis nuclear genome which calls for genome reannotation, and a large focus on Blastocystis in the ICOPA 2014 Congress in Mexico City.... Read more »

Fayer R, Elsasser T, Gould R, Solano G, Urban J Jr, & Santin M. (2014) Blastocystis tropism in the pig intestine. Parasitology research, 113(4), 1465-72. PMID: 24535732  

  • July 28, 2014
  • 03:10 PM
  • 985 views

This Month In Blastocystis Research (JUL 2014)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

A new study from Colombia sees Blastocystis as a quasi-ubiquitous organism.... Read more »

  • July 3, 2014
  • 07:44 PM
  • 842 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (JUN 2014) - IMECs Edition

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

A rare and extremely timely study using NGS tools to sequence DNA from intestinal microbial eukaryotic communities has been published in June 2014 in Frontiers in Microbiology; here's a small review.... Read more »

Parfrey, L., Walters, W., Lauber, C., Clemente, J., Berg-Lyons, D., Teiling, C., Kodira, C., Mohiuddin, M., Brunelle, J., Driscoll, M.... (2014) Communities of microbial eukaryotes in the mammalian gut within the context of environmental eukaryotic diversity. Frontiers in Microbiology. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00298  

  • June 1, 2014
  • 12:30 AM
  • 1,031 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (MAY 2014)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Musings on Mucins... ... Read more »

Hansson GC. (2012) Role of mucus layers in gut infection and inflammation. Current opinion in microbiology, 15(1), 57-62. PMID: 22177113  

Fayer R, Elsasser T, Gould R, Solano G, Urban J Jr, & Santin M. (2014) Blastocystis tropism in the pig intestine. Parasitology research, 113(4), 1465-72. PMID: 24535732  

Johansson ME, Sjövall H, & Hansson GC. (2013) The gastrointestinal mucus system in health and disease. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology , 10(6), 352-61. PMID: 23478383  

Van den Abbeele, P., Roos, S., Eeckhaut, V., MacKenzie, D., Derde, M., Verstraete, W., Marzorati, M., Possemiers, S., Vanhoecke, B., Van Immerseel, F.... (2012) Incorporating a mucosal environment in a dynamic gut model results in a more representative colonization by lactobacilli. Microbial Biotechnology, 5(1), 106-115. DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-7915.2011.00308.x  

  • May 15, 2014
  • 08:53 AM
  • 814 views

Medscape: New Research Questions Pathogenicity of Parasite Dientamoeba fragilis

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Data emerging from European labs do not exactly support a role for Dientamoeba fragilis in disease. Dientamoeba made it to the headlines of Medscape Medical News from the 24th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infections Diseases (ECCMID 2014) in Barcelona.... Read more »

Stensvold CR, Clark CG, & Röser D. (2013) Limited intra-genetic diversity in Dientamoeba fragilis housekeeping genes. Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 284-6. PMID: 23681023  

  • May 10, 2014
  • 08:12 AM
  • 1,164 views

Parasite-Microbiota-Host Interactions

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

In order to identify the role of Blastocystis in human health and disease, it's important to explore and recognise the potential spectrum of parasite-microbiota-host interactions.... Read more »

  • May 1, 2014
  • 07:30 PM
  • 930 views

This Month In Blastocystis Research (April 2014)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

DNA-based diagnosis of intestinal organisms, including parasites, is here to stay. Will the current single-/multiplex approach develop into a pan-diagnostic approach?... Read more »

  • April 29, 2014
  • 10:58 AM
  • 830 views

Review on Sarcocystis

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Despite the fact that humans can serve as both intermediate and final hosts of Sarcocystis, and despite the fact that muscular sarcocystosis can cause severe disease, still very little is know about most epidemiological and clinical aspects of the parasite. We have tried to come up with some ideas that could potentially advance our understanding of the epidemiological aspects of Sarcocystis and sarcocystosis.... Read more »

  • April 19, 2014
  • 07:34 AM
  • 952 views

Typing Method for Cryptosporidium Meleagridis

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

You can read about the development and use of a highly applicable typing method for C. meleagridis isolates in a newly published paper in Journal of Clinical Microbiology.... Read more »

  • April 10, 2014
  • 01:16 AM
  • 1,004 views

Resources For Blastocystis Epidemiology Research

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

An inventory of useful free online tools for studying the molecular epidemiology of Blastocystis.... Read more »

Alfellani MA, Taner-Mulla D, Jacob AS, Imeede CA, Yoshikawa H, Stensvold CR, & Clark CG. (2013) Genetic diversity of blastocystis in livestock and zoo animals. Protist, 164(4), 497-509. PMID: 23770574  

Alfellani MA, Stensvold CR, Vidal-Lapiedra A, Onuoha ES, Fagbenro-Beyioku AF, & Clark CG. (2013) Variable geographic distribution of Blastocystis subtypes and its potential implications. Acta tropica, 126(1), 11-8. PMID: 23290980  

Clark CG, van der Giezen M, Alfellani MA, & Stensvold CR. (2013) Recent developments in Blastocystis research. Advances in parasitology, 1-32. PMID: 23548084  

Stensvold CR, Suresh GK, Tan KS, Thompson RC, Traub RJ, Viscogliosi E, Yoshikawa H, & Clark CG. (2007) Terminology for Blastocystis subtypes--a consensus. Trends in parasitology, 23(3), 93-6. PMID: 17241816  

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