High level expression of a glutamate-gated chloride channel gene in reproductive tissues of Brugia malayi may explain the sterilizing effect of ivermectin on filarial worms

Ben Wen Li, Amy C. Rush, Gary J. Weil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Glutamate-gated chloride channels (GluCl) are targets for avermectin/milbemycin (A/M) anthelmintics such as ivermectin that cause paralysis of somatic and pharyngeal muscles in gastrointestinal nematodes. Ivermectin is useful for onchocerciasis control programs because of its activity against microfilariae that often cause ocular disease and severe dermatitis. However, mechanisms responsible for reduced microfilaria production by adult worms following ivermectin treatment are poorly understood. We synthesized subunit-specific RNA probes for the Brugia malayi GluCl gene avr-14 (BmAVR- 14) to localize expression of this gene in adult filarial worms. Both subunits of BmAVR- 14 exhibited very similar expression patterns. In female worms, strong expression signals were detected in the ovary, developing embryos and lateral hypodermal chords, with moderate expression in the uterus wall adjacent to stretched microfilariae. These genes were also highly expressed in adult male worms (in spermatogonia, in the wall of the vas deferens, and in the lateral chords, but not in mature spermatozoa). In addition, avr- 14 was highly expressed in somatic muscles adjacent to the terminal end of the vas deferens which contains mature sperm. These results show that avr- 14 is highly expressed in B. malayi developing embryos and reproductive tissues, and they provide evidence for the involvement of GluCl in gamete production and embryogenesis in filarial worms. This may explain the observed suppression of microfilaria (Mf) production by female worms following treatment with avermectin/milbemycin anthelmintics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Brugia malayi
  • Glutamate-gated chloride channels
  • In situ hybridization
  • Ivermectin
  • Reproduction

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