About this Research Topic
Schistosomiasis or bilharzia is a tropical disease caused by worms of the genus Schistosoma. Over 261 million people from 76 countries and territories are reported to be infected. This water-borne disease is considered the second most important parasitic infection after malaria. Infection by Schistosoma mansoni or Schistosoma japonicum causes intestinal schistosomiasis and is a major cause of liver fibrosis and portal hypertension. On the otherhand, infection by Schistosoma haematobium causes urogenital schistosomiasis and is strongly associated with squamous cell carcinoma.
The mechanisms driving the pathogenesis of these life-threatening diseases remain elusive. The reason why only a small percentage of infected individuals develop severe disease remains an open question. This gap in knowledge has consequently limited the development of both effective treatments (especially for the sequela of Schistosoma spp. infection) and of non-invasive biomarkers. Praziquantel treatment is highly efficacious in eliminating the adult worms but, in most severe cases, it is not sufficient to revert the lesions. Therefore, understanding the host-parasite interactions in Schistosomiasis could
help us to understand the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis and develop appropriate interventions to prevent infection and to ameliorate or even revert the lesions generated in chronic infections.
In this Research Topic, we aim to gather a collection of state-of-the-art and up-to-date articles covering important aspects of schistosomiasis pathogenesis. We welcome the submission of basic and translational Original Research, Review and Mini-Review articles on the following sub-topics:
1) New insights in pathogenesis of Schistosoma spp. infection in the intermediate invertebrate host, in natural infected definitive hosts including humans and in infected animal models.
2) Host immune responses during Schistosoma spp. infection.
3) Host-parasite interactions: how schistosome antigens regulate the host immune response.
4) Novel therapeutic interventions to treat the sequela of Schistosoma spp. infection (particularly fibrosis, female genital schistosomiasis and schistosomiasis-associated bladder cancer);
5) Novel point-of-care diagnosis tools for active infection and novel biomarkers for disease morbidity;
6) Novel non-invasive tools for prediction of severe disease;
7) Novel models to study different aspects/complications of Schistosoma spp. infection including schistosomiasis myeloradiculopathy, neural schistosomiasis, female genital schistosomiasis and schistosomiasis-associated bladder cancer.
8) Effects of other co-morbidities in the course of Schistosoma spp. infection with a particular focus on HIV infection, hepatitis virus infections (A,B,C,D,E), alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
9) Novel vaccine candidates and vaccine trial reports.
Keywords: Schistosoma, schistosomiasis, host-parasite interaction, immunology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, biomarkers
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