The fact whether Blastocystis hominis can invade has always been in question. Apart from a few sporadic studies such as that done on gnotobiotic guinea pigs which showed surface invasion and mucosal inflammation of the host's intestine caused by B. hominis infection, no real documentation of invasion has been proven. Studies have shown that hyaluronidase is secreted during the penetration into the host's skin and gut by nematode parasites. Hyaluronidase activity in protozoa namely Entamoeba histolytica has also been described previously. This study attempts to determine hyaluronidase in urine samples of B. hominis-infected rats. The presence of hyaluronidase in urine provides an indirect evidence of invasion by B. hominis into colonic epithelium causing the degradation of extracellular matrix proteins namely hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is depolymerized by hyaluronidase which may be used by organisms to invade one another. In this study, the levels of urinary hyaluronidase of Sprague-Dawley rats infected with B. hominis were monitored for 30 days. Hyaluronidase levels in the infected rats were significantly higher on days 28 and 30 compared to the day before inoculation (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively). During this stage, parasitic burden in infected stools was also at a high level. Proinflammatory cytokines, interleukin-6 and interleukin-8, were also significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the serum of infected rats. The study demonstrates that since no other pathogen was present and that amoeboid forms of the parasites have been shown to exist previously, the elevated levels of hyaluronidase in this preliminary finding suggests that the organism is capable of having invasion or penetration activity in the hosts' intestine.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.