New parasitic worm discovery could help 1 billion people worldwide.
Scientists have discovered why some people may be protected from harmful parasitic worms naturally while others cannot in what could lead to new therapies for up to one billion people worldwide.
The University of Manchester researchers have, for the first time, identified
Dr Sumaira Hasnain, the lead researcher said “For the first time, we have discovered that a single component of the mucus barrier, the Muc5ac mucin, is essential for worm expulsion.
Learning who is and isn’t susceptible to parasitic worms can lead to new treatments for people with chronic worm infections.
How does Muc5ac mucin effect cells?
- The abnormal expression of gastric M1/MUC5AC mucin in precancerous lesions and colon cancer.
- Cigarette smoke when it enters lung tissue induces MUC5AC mucin overproduction via tumor necrosis factor-α-converting enzyme in human airway epithelial (NCI-H292) cells.
- During inflammation Nitric oxide (NO) is generally increased in airway diseases. This causes NO to increase the secretion of mucin from the goblet cell and submucosal glands.
“These parasitic worms live in the gut, which is protected by a thick layer of mucus,” explained Dr David Thornton, from the University’s Wellcome Trust Center for Cell Matrix Research. “The mucus barrier is not just slime, but a complex mixture of salts, water and large ‘sugar-coated’ proteins called mucins that give mucus its gel-like properties.
By creating more mucous study mice were able to expel this whipworm from the gut. Importantly, the mucus from these mice contained the mucin, Muc5ac. This mucin is rarely present in the gut, but when it is, it alters the physical properties of the mucus gel.
Mice unable to genetically produce Muc5ac were unable to expel the worms, despite having a strong immune response against these parasites. This resulted in long-term infections.
Muc5ac is also essential for the efficient expulsion from the gut like hookworm, and the spiral threadworm. Together, these worms cause mortality and morbidity in up to one billion people across the globe.
Excerpts and Image 2. courtesy of http://bit.ly/kj9cXm
Image 1. courtesy of http://bit.ly/kuLDE5