About Blastocystis

Blastocystis is a highly prevalent single-celled parasite that infects the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals.  It has become the most prevalent gastrointestinal parasitic infection in developed and many developing countries, and it will produce long-term diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other symptoms in healthy individuals.

BRF’s web site has written and audio descriptions from patients, information on the newest research in diagnosis and treatment of Blastocystis ’hominis’ infection, and information on BRF”s advocacy program.

Deadline for Travel Grants to Blastocystis 2015 Conference in Ankara is Tuesday, April 7 !

We are completing evaluation of the travel grant applications to the Blastocystis 2015 conference in Ankara.  If you are a researcher and interested in applying, be sure to submit your application by Tuesday, April 7!  Contact director a t bhomcenter.org for an application.

Blastocystis found in the jejunum, cecum, and proximal/distal colon but not duodenum or ileum of experimentally infected pigs

Researchers from the US Department of Agriculture working with Antibodies Inc. have provided what may be the first report localizing Blastocystis infection in experimentally infected pigs.                      View entry from Parasitology Research

Blastocystis in Libyan Agricultural Community Composed Mainly of Subtypes 1, 2, and 3

Researchers report on a study of 380 symptomatic and symptomatic patients at a clinic in Sebha, Libya, an agricultural community which relies on well water for drinking.  The overall prevalence of Blastocystiswas 22%, assessed by stool culture.  A sample of 64 cultures showed that subtype 1 was most prevalent (51.1%), followed by subtype 2 (24.4%) and subtype 3 (17.8%).  Subtypes 1 and 2 were associated with having a lower educational level (p=0.034 and 0.008); subtype 1 was associated with the female gender (p=0.009).  None of the subtype infections was associated with abdominal pain.  Subtype 3 infection was associated with diarrhea (p=0.008), but not subtype 1 or 2 infections.                  View study from PLOS-One

Children with Blastocystis Less Likely to be Infected with Tuberculosis in Lima, Peru

Researchers studying 378 children (168 with TB and 168 controls) report that Blastocystis infection is associated with a significantly lowered risk for TB (p=0.002).  The relationship seems to follow a dose-response curve, with children showing higher numbers of Blastocystis in stool samples being at an even lower risk.  The researchers note what would be the most common conclusion, that Blastocysts might provide protection against TB.  But they also suggest other mechanisms might be responsible, for example, if TB infection reduced shedding of Blastocystis.  (It may be worth mentioning that Blastocystis + TB researchers have independently reported that high IL-10 production protects against TB while increasing risk of asymptomatic Blastocystis infection  -ed).     View study from the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Blastocystis Produces Barrier Disruption Similar to Giardia intestinalis, and Metronidazole-Resistant Types are Less Sticky

In one of the first studies to quantitatively compare Blastocystis‘ impact on intestinal epithelial cells to other infections, the Singapore team reports that Blastocystis impact on intestinal permeability is similar to that reported in studies of Giardia intestinalis, but less than that of Entamoeba histolytica.   Researchers also report significant differences in adhesiveness between different strains the same subtype (ST7).  Metronidazole-resistance appeared to be associated with a performance penalty, as resistant strains exhibited an impaired ability to attach to epithelial cells, and produced less of an increase in intestinal permeability.  View study from PLOS-Neglected Topical Diseases

Blastocystis from Symptomatic Patients Really Does Behave Differently

Researchers from the Malaysian team studying Blastocystis isolates from symptomatic and asymptomatic patients report that isolates from symptomatic patients (S1-S5) exhibit an elevated level of protease activity when compared to isolates from asymptomatic patients (A1-A5). The S1-S5 isolates also exhibited a higher rate of amoebic forms in culture, and those forms appeared to be correlated with the elevated protease activity.  The study also excluded the possibility that bacteria were responsible for elevated protease activity.   Read study from BMC Parasites and Vectors

Blastocystis Researchers Receive BRF Laboratory Supplies Grants

BRF is pleased to announce the first two awards for our Laboratory Supplies Grant Program to Dr. Rodolfo Casero of Argentina’s National University of Cordoba (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba) and Dr. Eric Viscogliosi of the Pasteur Institute (Institut Pasteur). About the program: Researching Blastocystis infection requires many things – skilled and motivated researchers, access to Blastocystis patients or cultures, specialized equipment and supplies.  In many cases, laboratories have all of the required items, but purchasing disposable supplies can be an obstacle.  Researchers interested in pursuing Blastocystis studies can apply to BRF to have part or all of the cost of their supplies covered by BRF.  BRF, at its option, may either reimburse researchers for supplies, or pay suppliers directly to ship supplies to their lab.

Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey to host 2015 Blastocystis Symposium

Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey will be host to the 2015 Blastocystis Symposium.   Researchers interested in presenting at this event still have time to submit abstracts!  The deadline has been extended to April 2015.  For more information, please refer to the event’s web site at www.blastomeeting2015.com

 

Laboratory Supply Grant application form available online

Many thanks for the response to BRF’s Laboratory Supply Grant.  Blank forms for this program are available online by clicking on this link.

BRF announces laboratory supplies grant program

Researching Blastocystis infection requires many things – skilled and motivated researchers, access to Blastocystis patients or cultures, specialized equipment and supplies.  In many cases, laboratories have all of the required items, but purchasing disposable supplies can be an obstacle.

Because of this, BRF’s board has voted to begin a Blastocystis Supplies Grant Program.  Researchers interested in pursuing Blastocystis studies can apply to BRF to have part or all of the cost of their supplies covered by BRF.  BRF, at its option, may either reimburse researchers for supplies, or pay suppliers directly to ship supplies to their lab.  Researchers interested in pursuing grant opportunities should be associated with a University or research institution in their country, or should have prior peer reviewed publications in the area of Blastocystis or similar microbial research.

For details on the supplies grant program, and an application form, please contact BRF at director@bhomcenter.org.