University of Hertfordshire

Delayed tall loss during the invasion of human skin by schistosome cercariae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • 900947

    Final published version, 167 KB, PDF document

  • P. J. Whitfield
  • A. Bartlett
  • N. Khammo
  • A.P.R. Brain
  • Marc Brown
  • C. Marriott
  • R. Clothier
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


Schistosomiasis is initiated when cercarial larvae invade human skin. Contrary to long-held assumptions, most cercariae of Schistosoma mansoni do not shed their propulsive tails as they penetrate. Scanning electron microscopy studies and infection experiments with entire human skin and differentiated, stratum corneum-like, human keratinocyte cultures, have shown that most cercarial tails enter the skin along with their bodies. We propose that this behaviour is an adaptive trait linked with concomitant immunity.

ID: 628788