Treatment of Schistosoma mansoni with miltefosine in vitro enhances serological recognition of defined worm surface antigens


BACKGROUND Miltefosine, an anti-cancer drug that has been successfully repositioned for treatment of Leishmania infections, has recently also shown promising effects against Schistosoma spp targeting all life cycle stages of the parasite. The current study examined the effect of treating Schistosoma mansoni adult worms with miltefosine on exposure of worm surface antigens in vitro. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS In an indirect immunofluorescence assay, rabbit anti-S.mansoni adult worm homogenate and anti-S. mansoni infection antisera gave strong immunofluorescence of the S. mansoni adult worm surface after treatment with miltefosine, the latter antiserum having previously been shown to synergistically enhance the schistosomicidal activity of praziquantel. Rabbit antibodies that recognised surface antigens exposed on miltefosine-treated worms were recovered by elution off the worm surface in low pH buffer and were used in a western immunoblotting assay to identify antigenic targets in a homogenate extract of adult worms (SmWH). Four proteins reacting with the antibodies in immunoblots were purified and proteomic analysis (MS/MS) combined with specific immunoblotting indicated they were the S. mansoni proteins: fructose-1,6 bisphosphate aldolase (SmFBPA), Sm22.6, alkaline phosphatase and malate dehydrogenase. These antibodies were also found to bind to the surface of 3-hour schistosomula and induce immune agglutination of the parasites, suggesting they may have a role in immune protection. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE This study reveals a novel mode of action of miltefosine as an anti-schistosome agent. The immune-dependent hypothesis we investigated has previously been lent credence with praziquantel (PZQ), whereby treatment unmasks parasite surface antigens not normally exposed to the host during infection. Antigens involved in this molecular mechanism could have potential as intervention targets and antibodies against these antigens may act to increase the drug's anti-parasite efficacy and be involved in the development of resistance to re-infection.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005853

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{ElFaham2017TreatmentOS, title={Treatment of Schistosoma mansoni with miltefosine in vitro enhances serological recognition of defined worm surface antigens}, author={Marwa H El-Faham and Maha M. Eissa and Joseph E Igetei and Eglal Ibrahim Amer and Susan Liddell and Mervat Z. El-Azzouni and Michael J. Doenhoff}, booktitle={PLoS neglected tropical diseases}, year={2017} }