Research of
Fascioloides magna
Laboratory of Helminthology (Prague)
www.helminthology.cz (Introduction)
Giant liver fluke (Fascioloides magna) is veterinary important endoparasitic helminth parasitizing a number of North American and European vertebrate species (primarily ruminants), causing severe health problems. The common definitive hosts of F. magna in Europe are cervids (specific definive hosts) - red deer (Cervus elaphus), fallow deer (Dama dama) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), but domestic ruminants such as cattle (non-specific definive hosts), sheep and goats (non-specific hosts) can also be infected when pastures are shared with cervids. For specific and non-specific definitive hosts fascioloidosis is accompanied by significant pathological changes of liver and other organs/tissues, leading to decrease of fitness (e.g. body weight). For the non-specific hosts the infection is usually fatal. Despite of the significant detrimental effect of F. magna on population of hoofed game, there is still minimal interest in this problem.

General research focus: Up to now, the diagnostics of fascioloidosis is primarily based on dissection of the host liver. We are mainly focused on development of novel direct and indirect intravital diagnostic methods. Using intravital diagnostic methods, the parasitosis can be revealed either directly (microscopically) – by discovering the eggs in the host faeces or indirectly (immunological and molecular tools) – by immunodetection of parasite specific antigens by ELISA/Western Blot or by isolation of parasite DNA and subsequent PCR. The immunological and molecular diagnostic methods could also allow reliable differentiation of F. magna infection from that caused by other common trematodes of wild and domestic ruminants (e.g. Fasciola hepatica – liver fluke, close relative to F. magna, Dicrocoelium dendriticum – parasitizing in bile ducts and gallbladder, Paramphistomum cervi – parasitizing in gastrointestinal tract). The outputs of immunological and molecular diagnostics could also be exploited in novel commercial diagnostic kit for fascioloidosis.
RNDr. Martin Kašný, Ph.D.: assistant professor (team coordinator)

Tel.: +420 221951816
Mob.: +420 603326043
Email: kasa@post.cz, kasny@natur.cuni.cz
Personal web page:
www.kasapage.wz.cz
Mgr. Roman Leontovyč: student
Functionally important molecules of the giant liver fluke Fascioloides magna
Bc. Veronika Siegelová: student
Molecular diagnosis of the liver fluke Fascioloides magna
Bc. Monika Košťáková: student
Pathological changes in various definitive host species caused by Fascioloides magna infection
Bc. Jan Pankrác: student
Early embryonal development and morphogenesis of selected organ systems of Fascioloides magna and Fasciola hepatica redia and cercaria
Contact address: Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Vinicna 7, Prague 128 44, CZECH REPUBLIC



Klára Melounová: student
Natural and experimental hosts of Fascioloides magna
Tomáš Siegel: student
Monitoring of of Fascioloides magna in the Czech Republic