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Fasciola hepatica-Pseudosuccinea columella interaction: effect of increasing parasite doses, successive exposures and geographical origin on the infection outcome of susceptible and naturally-resistant snails from Cuba

Alba, Annia, Vázquez, Antonio A., Sánchez, Jorge, Duval, David, Hernández, Hilda M., Sabourin, Emeline, Vittecoq, Marion, Hurtrez-Boussés, Sylvie, Gourbal, Benjamin
Parasites & vectors 2018 v.11 no.1 pp. 559
Fasciola hepatica, Pseudosuccinea columella, allopatry, encapsulation, evolutionary biology, fascioliasis, genetic markers, humans, livestock, miracidia, models, parasites, phenotype, provenance, snails, sympatry, vector control, wildlife, Caribbean, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France
BACKGROUND: Pseudosuccinea columella is one of the most widespread vectors of Fasciola hepatica, a globally distributed trematode that affects humans, livestock and wildlife. The exclusive occurrence in Cuba of susceptible and naturally-resistant populations to F. hepatica within this snail species, offers a fascinating model for evolutionary biology, health sciences and vector control strategies. In particular, resistance in P. columella is characterized by the encapsulation of the parasite by host’s immune cells and has been experimentally tested using different Cuban F. hepatica isolates with no records of successful infection. Here, we aimed to explore for the first time, the effect of different parasite doses, successive exposures and different parasite origins on the infection outcomes of the two phenotypes of P. columella occurring in Cuba. METHODS: To increase the chances for F. hepatica to establish, we challenged Cuban P. columella with increasing single parasite doses of 5, 15 or 30 miracidia and serial exposures (three-times) of 5 miracidia using a sympatric F. hepatica isolate from Cuba, previously characterized by microsatellite markers. Additionally, we exposed the snails to F. hepatica from different geographical origins (i.e. Dominican Republic and France). Parasite prevalence, redial burden and survival of snails were recorded at 25 days post-exposure. RESULTS: No parasite development was noted in snails from the resistant populations independent of the experimental approach. Contrastingly, an overall increase in prevalence and redial burden was observed in susceptible snails when infected with high miracidia doses and after serial exposures. Significant differences in redial burden between single 15 miracidia and serial 3 × 5 miracidia infected snails suggest that immune priming potentially occurs in susceptible P. columella. Compatibility differences of allopatric (Caribbean vs European) F. hepatica with susceptible snails were related to the geographical scale of the combinations. CONCLUSIONS: Here, the effectiveness of P. columella resistance to F. hepatica does not decline with increasing parasite doses, successive infection or different geographical origins of parasite isolates, while presenting new evidence for specificity for infection in susceptible P. columella snails. Understanding the peculiarities of the P. columella-F. hepatica interaction and the extent of the resistant phenotype is crucial for an effective parasite control and for developing alternatives to tackle fasciolosis transmission.