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A Question regarding Oral Hookworm Infections

Stephen Kayes skayes at USAMAIL.USOUTHAL.EDU
Fri Sep 5 16:43:39 EST 1997

To the group:

One of our clinicians asked me a question that one her
medical students asked her.  The question was how do
hookworms survive the gastric secretions when
acquired orally?

I know that N. americanus does not, by and large,
become established by the oral route and many believe
that if it does, it was because the infective larvae
penetrated the oral epithelium above the level of the
stomach.  But Ancylostoma duodenale can become
established by the oral route.  Thus, I was wondering if
any one knows the mechanism by which the larvae
resist digestion by pepsin HCL?  Common laboratory
procedures for recovering Toxocara, Trichinella, and
other migratory nematodes often use pepsin HCl
digestion and the worms seem to survive this just fine. 
How do they do it? And while they are doing it, how do
they keep from having their digestive systems digested
(assuming the answer to the first question is that the
cuticle is resistant to the proteolytic acitivity of the
gastric millieu.

Any and all answers will be appreciated.

Steve Kayes

Stephen G. Kayes, Ph.D                       Ofc: (334) 460-6768
Professor                                                   FAX: (334) 460-6771
Structural and Cellular Biology; 2042 MSB
University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Mobile, AL  36688-0002             

E-mail: kayes at sungcg.usouthal.edu

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