Published online May 7, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.2116
Revised: March 19, 2009
Accepted: March 26, 2009
Published online: May 7, 2009
AIM: To explore the effect of Echinococcus multilocularis (E. multilocularis) on the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways and on liver cell proliferation.
METHODS: Changes in the phosphorylation of MAPKs and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression were measured in the liver of patients with alveolar echinococcosis (AE). MAPKs, MEK1/2 [MAPK/extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) kinase] and ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK) phosphorylation were detected in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes in contact in vitro with (1) E. multilocularis vesicle fluid (EmF), (2) E. multilocularis-conditioned medium (EmCM).
RESULTS: In the liver of AE patients, ERK 1/2 and p38 MAPK were activated and PCNA expression was increased, especially in the vicinity of the metacestode. Upon exposure to EmF, p38, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and ERK1/2 were also activated in hepatocytes in vitro, as well as MEK1/2 and RSK, in the absence of any toxic effect. Upon exposure to EmCM, only JNK was up-regulated.
CONCLUSION: Previous studies have demonstrated an influence of the host on the MAPK cascade in E. multilocularis. Our data suggest that the reverse, i.e. parasite-derived signals efficiently acting on MAPK signaling pathways in host liver cells, is actually operating.