Taenia solium cysticerci synthesize androgens and estrogens in vitro.
ABSTRACT Cysticerci from Taenia solium develop in the pig muscle and cause severe diseases in humans. Here we report on the capacity of T. solium cysticerci to synthesize sex steroid hormones. T. solium cysticerci were dissected from infected pork meat. Parasites were incubated for different periods in culture media plus antibiotics and tritiated steroid precursors. Blanks and parasite culture media were extracted and analyzed by thin-layer chromatography (TLC) in two different solvent systems. In some experiments, the scoleces were incubated separately. Results showed that T. solium cysticerci transform [(3)H]androstenedione to [(3)H]testosterone in a time-dependent manner. The production was confirmed in two different solvent systems. The incubation with [(3)H]testosterone yielded only small amounts of [(3)H]androstenedione. The recrystallization procedure further demonstrated that the metabolite identified by TLC was testosterone. The isolated scoleces incubated in the presence of [(3)H]androstenedione yielded [(3)H]testosterone and small quantities of [(3)H]17beta-estradiol. The results reported here demonstrate that T. solium cysticerci have the capacity to synthesize steroid hormones.