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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  • October 29, 2014
  • 01:45 PM
  • 133 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
  • 215 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
  • 267 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
  • 360 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
  • 326 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
  • 384 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
  • 358 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
  • 484 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
  • 441 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
  • 385 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
  • 514 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
  • 416 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  

  • April 1, 2014
  • 09:05 PM
  • 406 views

This Month In Blastocystis Research (MAR 2014)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Is Blastocystis a consistent finding in Senegalese children? Novel data seem to suggest so.... Read more »

  • March 16, 2014
  • 03:44 AM
  • 534 views

What's In A Name?

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Blastocystis is a parasite. But what makes a parasite, and are all parasites 'bad'?... Read more »

  • February 28, 2014
  • 02:39 PM
  • 627 views

This Month In Blastocystis Research (FEB 2014) - The Protease Edition

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

The February issue of This Month In Blastocystis Research is mostly about Blastocystis proteases and their potential clinical significance. ... Read more »

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

Denoeud F, Roussel M, Noel B, Wawrzyniak I, Da Silva C, Diogon M, Viscogliosi E, Brochier-Armanet C, Couloux A, Poulain J.... (2011) Genome sequence of the stramenopile Blastocystis, a human anaerobic parasite. Genome biology, 12(3). PMID: 21439036  

Olivo-Diaz A, Romero-Valdovinos M, Gudiño-Ramirez A, Reyes-Gordillo J, Jimenez-Gonzalez DE, Ramirez-Miranda ME, Martinez-Flores WA, Martinez-Hernandez F, Flisser A, & Maravilla P. (2012) Findings related to IL-8 and IL-10 gene polymorphisms in a Mexican patient population with irritable bowel syndrome infected with Blastocystis. Parasitology research, 111(1), 487-91. PMID: 22287022  

Puthia MK, Vaithilingam A, Lu J, & Tan KS. (2005) Degradation of human secretory immunoglobulin A by Blastocystis. Parasitology research, 97(5), 386-9. PMID: 16151742  

Wawrzyniak I, Texier C, Poirier P, Viscogliosi E, Tan KS, Delbac F, & El Alaoui H. (2012) Characterization of two cysteine proteases secreted by Blastocystis ST7, a human intestinal parasite. Parasitology international, 61(3), 437-42. PMID: 22402106  

Sio SW, Puthia MK, Lee AS, Lu J, & Tan KS. (2006) Protease activity of Blastocystis hominis. Parasitology research, 99(2), 126-30. PMID: 16518611  

  • February 3, 2014
  • 01:55 PM
  • 499 views

This Month In Blastocystis Research (JAN 2014)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

This Month In Blastocystis Research is introducing the possible benefits of polyparasitism (!) and pulls out an example of a potentially protecting effect of Blastocystis.... Read more »

Franke MF, Del Castillo H, Pereda Y, Lecca L, Fuertes J, Cárdenas L, Becerra MC, Bayona J, & Murray M. (2013) Parasite Infection and Tuberculosis Disease among Children: A Case-Control Study. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene. PMID: 24379242  

Archambaud C, Sismeiro O, Toedling J, Soubigou G, Bécavin C, Lechat P, Lebreton A, Ciaudo C, & Cossart P. (2013) The intestinal microbiota interferes with the microRNA response upon oral Listeria infection. mBio, 4(6). PMID: 24327339  

  • December 11, 2013
  • 02:11 AM
  • 532 views

Molecular Epidemiology: Developing a Language

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Standardised methods and broadly accepeted reference data are the bread and butter of molecular epidemiological studies of infectious organisms. This post highlights some of the issues related to molecular epidemiology terminology and draws parallels between research in Blastocystis and Cryptosporidium.... 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  

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  

Xiao L, Ryan UM, Fayer R, Bowman DD, & Zhang L. (2012) Cryptosporidium tyzzeri and Cryptosporidium pestis: which name is valid?. Experimental parasitology, 130(3), 308-9. PMID: 22230707  

  • December 4, 2013
  • 06:42 PM
  • 512 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (NOV 2013)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

This Month in Blastocystis Research (NOV 2013)is mainly about new diagnostics and various treatment options.... Read more »

Roberts T, Ellis J, Harkness J, Marriott D, & Stark D. (2013) Treatment failure in patients with chronic Blastocystis infection. Journal of medical microbiology. PMID: 24243286  

  • November 22, 2013
  • 05:30 PM
  • 499 views

Do IBS Patients Lack Blastocystis and Dientamoeba??

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Healthy individuals appear to be more frequent carriers of the two parasites Blastocystis and Dientamoeba fragilis. We would like to know why and what the public health implications are of this.... Read more »

  • November 5, 2013
  • 10:56 AM
  • 427 views

A Shift of Paradigm in Blastocystis Research? Free paper in Trends in Parasitology!

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Opinion paper on Blastocystis in 'Trends in Parasitology' free for download all of November 2013.... Read more »

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