Myoung-Hee Ahn

Hanyang University Medical Center, Sŏul, Seoul, South Korea

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Publications (18)23.96 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We analyzed 320 clinical samples of parasitic infections submitted to the Department of Environmental Biology and Medical Parasitology, Hanyang University from January 2004 to June 2011. They consisted of 211 nematode infections, 64 trematode or cestode infections, 32 protozoan infections, and 13 infections with arthropods. The nematode infections included 67 cases of trichuriasis, 62 of anisakiasis (Anisakis sp. and Pseudoterranova decipiens), 40 of enterobiasis, and 24 of ascariasis, as well as other infections including strongyloidiasis, thelaziasis, loiasis, and hookworm infecions. Among the cestode or trematode infections, we observed 27 cases of diphyllobothriasis, 14 of sparganosis, 9 of clonorchiasis, and 5 of paragonimiasis together with a few cases of taeniasis saginata, cysticercosis cellulosae, hymenolepiasis, and echinostomiasis. The protozoan infections included 14 cases of malaria, 4 of cryptosporidiosis, and 3 of trichomoniasis, in addition to infections with Entamoeba histolytica, Entamoeba dispar, Entamoeba coli, Endolimax nana, Giardia lamblia, and Toxoplasma gondii. Among the arthropods, we detected 6 cases of Ixodes sp., 5 of Phthirus pubis, 1 of Sarcoptes scabiei, and 1 of fly larva. The results revealed that trichuriasis, anisakiasis, enterobiasis, and diphyllobothriasis were the most frequently found parasitosis among the clinical samples.
    The Korean Journal of Parasitology 04/2014; 52(2):215-20. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Trichomonas vaginalis is known as the most common cause of sexually transmitted infection. However, its prevalence may have been underestimated. Trichomonads are detected in prostatic tissue in benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatitis, and prostate cancer. Our objective was to investigate whether T. vaginalis could induce an inflammatory response in prostate epithelium. The cytokine production by human prostate epithelial cell (RWPE-1) activated with T. vaginalis was determined by ELISA and real-time PCR. Intracellular ROS was evaluated by flow cytometry or spectrofluorometry. The protein levels of MAP kinase, NF-κB were analyzed by Western blot. The migration of neutrophil and monocyte were performed in 24-well microplates with filter insert. Incubation of cells of a human prostate epithelial cell line with a live T. vaginalis T016 isolate increased expression of the inflammatory mediators IL-1β, CCL2, and CXCL8. In addition, ROS, MAPK, and NF-κB activities increased, while inhibitors of ROS, ERK, and NF-κB reduced IL-1β production. Medium conditioned by incubation of RWPE-1 cells with T. vaginalis contained IL-1β and stimulated the migration of human neutrophils and monocytes (THP-1 cell line). We conclude that T. vaginalis may increase IL-1β expression in human prostate epithelium through activation of ROS, ERK, and NF-κB, and this in turn may induce the migration of neutrophils and monocytes and lead to an inflammatory response. This research is the first attempt to confirm inflammatory reaction caused by T. vaginalis in prostate epithelial cell. Prostate © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    The Prostate 12/2013; · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a process of cytoplasmic degradation of endogenous proteins and organelles. Although its primary role is protective, it can also contribute to cell death. Recently, autophagy was found to play a role in the activation of host defense against intracellular pathogens. The aims of our study was to investigate whether host cell autophagy influences Toxoplasma gondii proliferation and whether autophagy inhibitors modulate cell survival. HeLa cells were infected with T. gondii with and without rapamycin treatment to induce autophagy. Lactate dehydrogenase assays showed that cell death was extensive at 36-48 hr after infection in cells treated with T. gondii with or without rapamycin. The autophagic markers, LC3 II and Beclin 1, were strongly expressed at 18-24 hr after exposure as shown by Western blotting and RT-PCR. However, the subsequent T. gondii proliferation suppressed autophagy at 36 hr post-infection. Pre-treatment with the autophagy inhibitor, 3-methyladenine (3-MA), down-regulated LC3 II and Beclin 1. The latter was also down-regulated by calpeptin, a calpain inhibitor. Monodansyl cadaverine (MDC) staining detected numerous autophagic vacuoles (AVs) at 18 hr post-infection. Ultrastructural observations showed T. gondii proliferation in parasitophorous vacuoles (PVs) coinciding with a decline in the numbers of AVs by 18 hr. FACS analysis failed to confirm the presence of cell apoptosis after exposure to T. gondii and rapamycin. We concluded that T. gondii proliferation may inhibit host cell autophagy and has an impact on cell survival.
    The Korean Journal of Parasitology 06/2013; 51(3):279-87. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is known that physicochemical conditions (e.g., pH, temperature, and ionic strength) affect the size of trichomonads. In this study, the sizes of 4 isolates of Trichomonas vaginalis cultured for more than a year (called "old T") and 3 isolates freshly isolated from vaginitis cases (called "fresh T") were compared by scanning electron microscopy. Although the fresh T had shorter body length, body width, and flagellar length than old T, total length (about 26 µm), including body length, flagella length, and axostyle length was almost the same in the 2 groups. A striking difference was observed between the axostyles of the 2 groups; the axostyle length of the fresh T (8.2 µm) was more than twice as long as that of the old T (4.0 µm). However, in several parasitology textbooks, the length of T. vaginalis is said to vary widely from 7 to 32 µm, and its undulating membrane is said to extend about half way (53.5%) to the posterior end of the body. On the other hand, in our study, the undulating membrane was observed to extend more than 3/4 of the body length (72.1%) in old T, whereas in fresh T it could not be measured. Taken together, we suggest that T. vaginalis averages 26 (21-32) µm in total length, with 9.5 (7.4-11.4) µm of body length and 6.8 (5.3-7.7) µm of width, and its undulating membrane extending 3/4 of its body length. Therefore, these findings may provide useful information for morphological characteristics of T. vaginalis.
    The Korean Journal of Parasitology 04/2013; 51(2):243-246. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the usefulness of PCR for diagnosis of Trichomonas vaginalis infection among male patients with chronic recurrent prostatitis and urethritis. Between June 2001 and December 2003, a total of 33 patients visited the Department of Urology, Hanyang University Guri Hospital and were examined for T. vaginalis infection by PCR and culture in TYM medium. For the PCR, we used primers based on a repetitive sequence cloned from T. vaginalis (TV-E650). Voided bladder urine (VB1 and VB3) was sampled from 33 men with symptoms of lower urinary tract infection (urethral charge, residual urine sensation, and frequency). Culture failed to detect any T. vaginalis infection whereas PCR identified 7 cases of trichomoniasis (21.2%). Five of the 7 cases had been diagnosed with prostatitis and 2 with urethritis. PCR for the 5 prostatitis cases yielded a positive 330 bp band from bothVB1 and VB3, whereas positive results were only obtained from VB1 for the 2 urethritis patients. We showed that the PCR method could detect T. vaginalis when there was only 1 T. vaginalis cell per PCR mixture. Our results strongly support the usefulness of PCR on urine samples for detecting T. vaginalis in chronic prostatitis and urethritis patients.
    The Korean Journal of Parasitology 06/2012; 50(2):157-9. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Toxoplasmosis, which is caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, can lead to severe visual impairment. T. gondii inhibits or delays programmed cell death caused by various apoptotic triggers; however, the mechanisms involved in the T. gondii-induced suppression of apoptosis in retinal cells have not been analysed in detail. We investigated the role of T. gondii infection in H(2)O(2) -induced apoptosis in human retinal pigment epithelial cells (ARPE-19) by monitoring the activities of apoptosis-regulating molecules and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), including p38 MAPK. We also examined the gene downstream from p38 MAPK. T. gondii infection significantly inhibited the cellular toxicity of H(2)O(2) (500 μm) and increased cell viability in a multiplicity of infection (MOI)-dependent manner by reducing DNA fragmentation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in ARPE-19 cells. Western blot analysis also showed that T. gondii infection prevented the host cell expression of pro-apoptotic factors, such as Bad and Bax, and the activation of caspase-3. Infection with T. gondii increased the expression of the anti-apoptotic factor Bcl-2 in ARPE-19 cells under oxidative stress. In accordance with these findings, Toxoplasma infection was protective enough to suppress the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK following H(2)O(2) treatment. Exposure to H(2)O(2) increased the expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in ARPE-19 cells, and its expression was significantly inhibited in H(2)O(2) -treated infected cells. The protective function of T. gondii infection against ROS-induced apoptosis results from changes in the expression of apoptotic molecules and the downregulation of stress-induced intracellular signalling.
    Acta ophthalmologica 02/2011; 89(4):e350-6. · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Heat-shock protein 70 (HSP70) is highly expressed in Toxoplasma gondii-infected cells. However, the role of this protein is not well understood, especially during apoptosis. This study addresses the mechanism behind the antiapoptotic chaperone activity of HSP70 in Toxoplasma-infected host cells using a human macrophage cell line, THP-1 by Western blot, DNA fragmentation assay, immunoprecipitation, and a caspase-3/7 activity assay based on cleavage of the colorimetric substrate DEVD-pNA. Apoptosis induced by arsenic trioxide (As(2)O(3)) was inhibited in T. gondii-infected THP-1 cells, but not in uninfected cells. Without As(2)O(3) induction of apoptosis, T. gondii infection caused increased expression of Bcl-2 and HSP70, but not caspase-3. However, active form caspase-3 levels were lower in As(2)O(3)-treated infected cells as compared with As(2)O(3)-treated uninfected cells. Bcl-2 expression in As(2)O(3)-treated infected cells was similar to that in cells infected with T. gondii. Translocation of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and release of cytochrome c from mitochondria were inhibited in As(2)O(3)-treated infected cells as compared with As(2)O(3)-treated uninfected cells. Increased parasite loads in Toxoplasma-infected macrophages caused higher HSP70 and Bcl-2 expression in whole-cell extracts and fractionated components, respectively. However, expression of AIF and cytochrome c was unaffected. Toxoplasma dose-dependently inhibited caspase-3 activation, thus revealing an anti-apoptotic parasite activity on cytochrome c-mediated caspase activation in subcellular components. In addition, immunoprecipitation analysis suggested that HSP70 is capable of binding to the pro-apoptotic factors AIF and Apaf-1, but not to cytochrome c or procaspase-9. Taken together, these data demonstrate that T. gondii infection inhibits mitochondrial apoptosis through overproduction of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 as well as HSP70, which are increased parasite loads dependently.
    Parasitology Research 11/2010; 107(6):1313-21. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neutrophils play an important role in the human immune system for protection against such microorganisms as a protozoan parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis; however, the precise role of neutrophils in the pathogenesis of trichomoniasis is still unknown. Moreover, it is thought that trichomonal lysates and excretory-secretory products (ESP), as well as live T. vaginalis, could possibly interact with neutrophils in local tissues, including areas of inflammation induced by T. vaginalis in humans. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of T. vaginalis lysate on the fate of neutrophils. We found that T. vaginalis lysate inhibits apoptosis of human neutrophils as revealed by Giemsa stain. Less altered mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and surface CD16 receptor expression also supported the idea that neutrophil apoptosis is delayed after T. vaginalis lysate stimulation. In contrast, ESP stimulated-neutrophils were similar in apoptotic features of untreated neutrophils. Maintained caspase-3 and myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) in neutrophils co-cultured with trichomonad lysate suggest that an intrinsic mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis was involved in T. vaginalis lysate-induced delayed neutrophil apoptosis; this phenomenon may contribute to local inflammation in trichomoniasis.
    The Korean Journal of Parasitology 03/2010; 48(1):1-7. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Trichomonas vaginalis commonly causes vaginitis and perhaps cervicitis in women and urethritis in men and women. Macrophages are important immune cells in response to T. vaginalis infection. In this study, we investigated whether human macrophages could be involved in inflammation induced by T. vaginalis. Human monocyte-derived macrophages (HMDM) were co-cultured with T. vaginalis. Live, opsonized-live trichomonads, and T. vaginalis lysates increased proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6 by HMDM. The involvement of nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB signaling pathway in cytokine production induced by T. vaginalis was confirmed by phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of p65 NF-kappaB. In addition, stimulation with live T. vaginalis induced marked augmentation of nitric oxide (NO) production and expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) levels in HMDM. However, trichomonad-induced NF-kappaB activation and TNF-alpha production in macrophages were significantly inhibited by inhibition of iNOS levels with L-NMMA (NO synthase inhibitor). Moreover, pretreatment with NF-kappaB inhibitors (PDTC or Bay11-7082) caused human macrophages to produce less TNF-alpha. These results suggest that T. vaginalis stimulates human macrophages to produce proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-alpha, and NO. In particular, we showed that T. vaginalis induced TNF-alpha production in macrophages through NO-dependent activation of NF-kappaB, which might be closely involved in inflammation caused by T. vaginalis.
    The Korean Journal of Parasitology 10/2009; 47(3):205-12. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During Toxoplasma gondii infection, macrophages, dendritic cells, and neutrophils are important sources of pro-inflammatory cytokines from the host. To counteract the pro-inflammatory activities, T. gondii is known to have several mechanisms inducing down-regulation of the host immunity. In the present study, we analyzed the production of proand anti-inflammatory cytokines from a human myelomonocytic cell line, THP-1 cells, in response to treatment with T. gondii lysate or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Treatment of THP-1 cells with LPS induced production of IL-12, TNF-alpha, IL-8, and IL-10. Co-treatment of THP-1 cells with T. gondii lysate inhibited the LPS-induced IL-12, IL-8 and TNF-alpha expression, but increased the level of IL-10 synergistically. IL-12 and IL-10 production was down-regulated by anti-human toll-like receptor (TLR)-2 and TLR4 antibodies. T. gondii lysate triggered nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB-dependent IL-8 expression in HEK293 cells transfected with TLR2. It is suggested that immunosuppression induced by T. gondii lysate treatment might occur via TLR2-mediated NF-kappaB activation.
    The Korean Journal of Parasitology 10/2008; 46(3):145-51. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Loa loa is unique among the human filariae in that adult worms are occasionally visible during subconjunctival migration. A 29-yr-old African female student, living in Korea for the past 5 yr without ever visiting her home country, presented with acute eyelid swelling and a sensation of motion on the left eyeball. Her symptoms started one day earlier and became worse over time. Examination revealed a threadlike worm beneath the left upper bulbar conjunctiva with mild eyelid swelling as well as painless swelling of the right forearm. Upon exposure to slit-lamp illumination, a sudden movement of the worm toward the fornix was noted. After surgical extraction, parasitologic analysis confirmed the worm to be a female adult Loa loa with the vulva at the extreme anterior end. On blood smear, the microfilariae had characteristic features of Loa loa, including sheath and body nuclei up to the tip of the tail. The patient also showed eosinophilia (37%) measuring 4,100/microL. She took ivermectin (200 microg/kg) as a single dose and suffered from a mild fever and chills for one day. This patient, to the best of our knowledge, is the first case of subconjunctival loiasis with Calabar swelling in Korea.
    Journal of Korean Medical Science 09/2008; 23(4):731-3. · 1.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There are many neutrophils in the vaginal discharge from women infected with Trichomonas vaginalis. The aim of our study was to determine whether human neutrophil apoptosis may be regulated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) in response to trichomonads infection. Incubation of human neutrophils with live trichomonads caused marked receptor shedding of CD16, decrease of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and caspase-3 activation in human neutrophils. These proapoptotic effects of T. vaginalis on neutrophils were inhibited by pretreatment of neutrophils with an inhibitor of NADPH oxidase, diphenyleneiodonium chloride (DPI), suggesting an important role of intracellular ROS accumulation in T. vaginalis-triggered apoptosis. Indeed, large amounts of ROS levels were detected in neutrophils incubated with live trichomonads, and were also effectively inhibited by DPI. However, pan-caspase inhibitor z-VAD-fmk or caspase-3 inhibitor z-DEVD-fmk did not affect T. vaginalis-induced ROS generation in neutrophils. These results suggest that ROS-dependent caspase-3 activation plays an important role in apoptosis of human neutrophils induced by T. vaginalis.
    Experimental Parasitology 02/2008; 118(1):59-65. · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Surface antigen 3 (SAG3) of Toxoplasma gondii is very similar in structure to the major surface antigen 1 (SAG1). Although numerous studies have supported the importance of SAG1 in protection against T. gondii infection, few reports exist on SAG3. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST)-fused SAG3 of T. gondii (rSAG3) were immunized into BALB/c mice alone or in combination with Quil A (rSAG3/Quil A), and then evaluated the protective immunity in vivo and in vitro against murine toxoplasmosis. Immunization with rSAG3 or rSAG3/Quil A resulted in significantly more survival days and fewer brain cysts after challenge with T. gondii compared to an infected control group. Mice immunized with rSAG3 alone or in combination with Quil A produced significantly more specific IgG2a antibody, whereas specific IgG1 antibody titers did not increase. The percentage of CD8+ T cells, IFN-gamma mRNA expression, and nitric oxide production significantly increased in rSAG3- and rSAG3/Quil A-immunized mice. These results indicate that vaccination with Toxoplasma rSAG3 results in partial protective immunity against T. gondii infection through induction of a Th1-type immune response, and that protective immunity is accelerated by the modulating effects of Quil A.
    Yonsei Medical Journal 07/2007; 48(3):396-404. · 1.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our experiments aimed to clarify the mechanism by which host cell apoptosis is inhibited by infection with the intracellular protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). Mouse spleen cells were cultured in 6-well plates with RPMI 1640/ 10% FBS at 37?, in a 5% CO2 atmosphere. Apoptosis of spleen cells was induced by actinomycin-D (AD) treatment for 1 h prior to infection with T. gondii. A variety of assays were used to assess the progression of apoptosis: DNA size analysis on agarose gel electrophoresis, flow cytometry with annexin V/PI staining, and analysis of expression levels of Bcl-2 family and NF-kappaB mRNA and proteins by RT-PCR, Western blotting, and EMSA. Additionally, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was performed to observe changes in cell morphology. Fragmentation of DNA was inhibited in spleen cells treated with AD and T. gondii 5 h and 18 h post infection, respectively, and flow cytometry studies showed a decreased apoptotic rates in AD and T. gondii treated spleen cells. We observed decreased expression of Bax mRNA and protein, while levels of Bcl-2 mRNA remained constant in spleen cells treated with AD and T. gondii. Caspase 3 and PARP were inactivated in cells treated with AD and T. gondii, and increased levels of cleaved caspase 8 were also observed. Analysis of EMSA and Western blot data suggests that activation of transcription factor NF-kappaB may be involved in the blockade of apoptosis by T. gondii. TEM analysis showed nuclear fragmentation and chromatin condensation occurring in spleen cells treated with AD; however, such apoptosis- associated morphological changes were not observed in cells treated with both AD and T. gondii tachyzoites. Together, these data show that T. gondii infection inhibits AD induced apoptosis via caspase inactivation and NF-kappaB activation in mouse spleen cells.
    Yonsei Medical Journal 01/2007; 47(6):862-9. · 1.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This experiment focused on MAPK activation in host cell invasion and replication of T. gondii, as well as the expression of CC chemokines, MCP-1 and MIP-1 alpha , and enzyme, COX-2/prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in infected cells via western blot, [3H]-uracil incorporation assay, ELISA and RT-PCR. The phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p38 in infected HeLa cells was detected at 1 hr and/or 6 hr postinfection (PI). Tachyzoite proliferation was reduced by p38 or JNK MAPK inhibitors. MCP-1 secretion was enhanced in infected peritoneal macrophages at 6 hr PI. MIP-1 alpha mRNA was increased in macrophages at 18 hr PI. MCP-1 and MIP-1 alpha were reduced after treatment with inhibitors of ERK1/2 and JNK MAPKs. COX-2 mRNA gradually increased in infected RAW 264.7 cells and the secretion of COX-2 peaked at 6 hr PI. The inhibitor of JNK suppressed COX-2 expression. PGE2 from infected RAW 264.7 cells was increased and synthesis was suppressed by PD98059, SB203580, and SP600125. In this study, the activation of p38, JNK and/or ERK1/2 MAPKs occurred during the invasion and proliferation of T. gondii tachyzoites in HeLa cells. Also, increased secretion and expression of MCP-1, MIP-1 alpha , COX-2 and PGE2 were detected in infected macrophages, and appeared to occur via MAPK signaling pathways.
    The Korean Journal of Parasitology 10/2006; 44(3):197-207. · 0.88 Impact Factor
  • Yonsei Medical Journal - YONSEI MED J. 01/2006; 47(6).
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    ABSTRACT: Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite, which invades a wide range of hosts including humans. The exact mechanisms involved in its invasion are not fully understood. This study focused on the roles of Ca2+ in host cell invasion and in T. gondii replication. We examined the invasion and replication of T. gondii pretreated with several calcium modulators, the conoid extrusion of tachyzoites. Calmodulin localization in T. gondii were observed using the immunogold method, and Ca2+ levels in tachyzoites by confocal microscopy. In light microscopic observation, tachyzoites co-treated with A23187 and EGTA showed that host cell invasion and intracellular replication were decreased. The invasion of tachyzoites was slightly inhibited by the Ca2+ channel blockers, bepridil and verapamil, and by the calmodulin antagonist, calmidazolium. We observed that calcium saline containing A23187 induced the extrusion of tachyzoite conoid. By immunoelectron microscopy, gold particles bound to anti-calmodulin or anti-actin mAb, were found to be localized on the anterior portion of tachyzoites. Remarkably reduced intracellular Ca2+ was observed in tachyzoites treated with BAPTA/AM by confocal microscopy. These results suggest that host cell invasion and the intracellular replication of T. gondii tachyzoites are inhibited by the calcium ionophore, A23187, and by the extracellular calcium chelator, EGTA.
    The Korean Journal of Parasitology 01/2005; 42(4):185-93. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A 23-year-old medical student showed a positive reaction on a skin test for Paragonimus westermani, and two Tarsonemus floricolus mites were subsequently found by sputum examination and identified morphologically. Our report is the first human case of Tarsonemus floricolus in Korea.
    The Korean Journal of Parasitology 10/2003; 41(3):171-3. · 0.88 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

90 Citations
23.96 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2003–2014
    • Hanyang University Medical Center
      Sŏul, Seoul, South Korea
  • 2010–2011
    • Chungnam National University Hospital
      Sŏul, Seoul, South Korea
    • Hanyang University
      • Major in Environmental Biology and Medical Parasitology
      Sŏul, Seoul, South Korea
  • 2007
    • Chungnam National University
      • College of Medicine
      Seongnam, Gyeonggi, South Korea