Schistosoma mansoni: Killing of transformed schistosomula by the alternative pathway of human complement

M. Marikovsky*, F. Levi-Schaffer, R. Arnon, Z. Fishelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The interaction of mechanically transformed schistosomula of Schistosoma mansoni with the alternative pathway of human complement was studied in vitro. To detect early changes in transformation, the schistosomula were prepared at a low temperature and used immediately. As shown previously, freshly transformed schistosomula were highly susceptible to killing by normal human serum and by C4-depleted normal human serum. This serum activity was concentration dependent and was markedly reduced on a twofold serum dilution. Upon incubation at 37 C in defined synthetic medium, schistosomula rapidly became refractory to killing by the alternative pathway of complement. After 1 hr of incubation at 37 C, the percentage of schistosomula which were resistant to killing increased from 16 to 85. This conversion was accompanied by a fivefold decrease in deposition of C3b on schistosomula which had been exposed to 37 C for 1 hr and then further incubated with C4-depleted normal human serum. The following events occurred concomitantly during incubation of freshly transformed schistosomula at 37 C with a half-life of 30-60 min: (1) Decrease in activation and consumption of the alternative pathway of complement by schistosomula; (2) appearance of a strong complement consuming activity in the supernatant of incubating schistosomula; and (3) shedding of protein- and carbohydrate-containing substances from the surface of schistosomula into the supernatant. Isolated external membranes of freshly transformed schistosomula consumed the alternative pathway of complement to a greater extent than membranes of schistosomula preincubated in medium at 37 C. The results demonstrate that transformed schistosomula acquire resistance to complement killing via the alternative pathway by shedding complement-activating substances. The shed material has an anticomplementary activity and, as such, may provide further protection against complementmediated attack.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)86-94
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomphalaria glabrata
  • Complement, human
  • Consumption
  • Conversion
  • Escape
  • Mouse, ICR
  • Schistosoma mansoni
  • Schistosomula
  • Snail
  • Trematode


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