The parasitic trematode Fasciola hepatica exhibits mammalian-type glycolipids as well as Gal(Β1-6)Gal-terminating glycolipids that account for cestode serological cross-reactivity

Manfred Wuhrer, Christiane Grimm, Roger D. Dennis, Mohamed A. Idris, Rudolf Geyer

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Neutral glycosphingolipids from sheep-derived Fasciola hepatica liver flukes were isolated and characterized both structurally and serologically. After HPLC fractionation, glycolipids were analyzed by linkage analysis, enzymatic cleavage, and MALDI-TOF as well as electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Obtained results revealed the presence of two types of neutral glycolipids. The first group represented mammalian-type species comprising globo- and isoglobotriaosylceramides (Gal(α1-4)Gal(β1-4)Glc(1-1)ceramide and Gal(α1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc(1-1)ceramide, respectively) as well as Forssman antigen (GalNAc(α1-3)GalNAc(β1-3/4)Gal(α1-4/3)Gal(β1-4 Glc(1-1)ceramide). Applying Helix pomatia agglutinin, recognizing terminal α-linked GalNAc, to cryosections of adult flukes, the latter glycolipid could be localized to the F. hepatica gut. As Forssman antigen from the parasite and sheep host led to identical MALDI-TOF MS profiles, this glycolipid might be acquired from the definitive host. As a second group, highly antigenic glycolipids were structurally characterized as Gal(β1-6)Gal(β1-4)Glc(1-1)ceramide, Gal(β1-6)Gal(α1-3/4)Gal(β1-4)Glc(1-1)ceramide and Gal(β1-6)Gal(β1-6)Gal(α1-3/4)Gal(β1-4)Glc(1-1 ceramide, the latter two structures of which exhibited both isoglobo- or globo-series core structures. Terminal Gal(β1-6)Gal1- motifs have previously been shown to represent antigenic epitopes of neogala-series glycosphingolipids from tape worms. Using human Echinococcus granulosus infection sera, Gal(β1-6)-Gal-terminating glycolipids could be allocated to the gut in adult liver fluke cryosections. Corresponding neogala-reactive antibodies in F. hepatica infection serum were detected by their binding to E. granulosus and Taenia crassiceps neogalaglycosphingolipids. These antibodies might contribute to the known serological cross-reactivity between F. hepatica and parasitic cestode infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-126
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004



  • Forssman antigen
  • Liver-fluke glycolipids
  • Neogala-series glycolipids
  • Oligosaccharide structural analysis
  • Parasitic trematode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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