Trichuris suis is a common parasitic helminth of pigs. As with many other parasites, T. suis ensures its own survival by evading host immune responses, but little is known about how this is achieved. MicroRNAs (miRNA) have been shown to be involved in various immunological processes by post-transcriptional regulation of specific genes, and the potential of using these molecules as biomarkers of disease is currently being examined. It has recently been shown that parasites may secrete extracellular structures such as exosomes and microvesicles, containing proteins and miRNA. The fusion of these structures with host cells has been demonstrated, and a role of exosome-derived miRNA in host gene regulation has been suggested. In the present study, we show that exosome- and microvesicular-like structures are secreted by T. suis L1 larvae and also demonstrate the presence of miRNA-sized RNA inside these structures. A potential role of these molecules in host-parasite interactions is suggested. In addition, an electron-dense layer covering the surface of the larvae was observed, which may play a function in host immune evasion.
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Vol. 101 • No. 3