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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 625380, 10 pages
Research Article

Sex Steroids Effects on the Molting Process of the Helminth Human Parasite Trichinella spiralis

1Departamento de Inmunología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510 México, DF, Mexico
2Subdirección de Investigación Básica, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología, Secretaría de Salud, 14080 México, DF, Mexico
3Departamento de Inmunología e Infectología Pediátrica, Instituto Nacional de Pediatría, Secretaría de Salud, 11000 México, DF, Mexico
4Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510, Mexico
5Departamento de Psicoinmunología, Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría “Ramón de la Fuente”, 14370 México, DF, Mexico

Received 28 March 2011; Revised 18 August 2011; Accepted 23 August 2011

Academic Editor: Luis I. Terrazas

Copyright © 2011 Romel Hernández-Bello et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We evaluated the in vitro effects of estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone on the molting process, which is the initial and crucial step in the development of the muscular larvae (ML or L1) to adult worm. Testosterone had no significative effect on the molting rate of the parasite, however, progesterone decreased the molting rate about a 50% in a concentration- and time-independent pattern, while estradiol had a slight effect (10%). The gene expression of caveolin-1, a specific gene used as a marker of parasite development, showed that progesterone and estradiol downregulated its expression, while protein expression was unaffected. By using flow citometry, a possible protein that is recognized by a commercial antiprogesterone receptor antibody was detected. These findings may have strong implications in the host-parasite coevolution, in the sex-associated susceptibility to this infection and could point out to possibilities to use antihormones to inhibit parasite development.