• Han H, Peng J, Han Y, Zhang M, Hong Y, Fu Z, Yang J, Tao J, Lin J. (2013) Differential Expression of microRNAs in the Non-Permissive Schistosome Host Microtus fortis under Schistosome Infection. PLoS ONE 8(12),

The reed vole Microtus fortis is the only mammal known in China in which the growth, development and maturation of schistosomes (Schistosoma japonicum) is prevented. It might be that the anti-schistosomiasis mechanisms of M. fortis associate with microRNA-mediated gene expression, given that the latter has been found to be involved in gene regulation in eukaryotes. In the present study, the difference between pathological changes in tissues of M. fortis and of mice (Mus musculus) post-schistosome infection were observed by using hematoxylin-eosin staining. In addition, microarray technique was applied to identify differentially expressed miRNAs in the same tissues before and post-infection to analyze the potential roles of miRNAs in schistosome infection in these two different types of host. Histological analyses showed that S. japonicum infection in M. fortis resulted in a more intensive inflammatory response and pathological change than in mice. The microarray analysis revealed that 162 miRNAs were expressed in both species, with 12 in liver, 32 in spleen and 34 in lung being differentially expressed in M. fortis. The functions of the differentially expressed miRNAs were mainly revolved in nutrient metabolism, immune regulation, etc. Further analysis revealed that important signaling pathways were triggered after infection by S. japonicum in M. fortis but not in the mice. These results provide new insights into the general mechanisms of regulation in the non-permissive schistosome host M. fortis that exploits potential miRNA regulatory networks. Such information will help improve current understanding of schistosome development and host–parasite interactions.

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