Trichomonas vaginalis perturbs the junctional complex in epithelial cells

Rodrigo Furtado Madeiro Da Costa, Wanderley De Souza, Marlene Benchimol, John F. Alderete, José Andrés Morgado-Díaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Trichomonas vaginalis, a protist parasite of the urogenital tract in humans, is the causative agent of trichomonosis, which in recent years have been associated with the cervical cancer development. In the present study we analyzed the modifications at the junctional complex level of Caco-2 cells after interaction with two isolates of T. vaginalis and the influence of the iron concentration present in the parasite's culture medium on the interaction effects. Our results show that T. vaginalis adheres to the epithelial cell causing alterations in the junctional complex, such as: (a) a decrease in transepithelial electrical resistance; (b) alteration in the pattern of junctional complex proteins distribution as observed for E-cadherin, occludin and ZO-1; and (c) enlargement of the spaces between epithelial cells. These effects were dependent on (a) the degree of the parasite virulence isolate, (b) the iron concentration in the culture medium, and (c) the expression of adhesin proteins on the parasite surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-716
Number of pages13
JournalCell Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2005


  • Adhesins
  • Caco-2
  • Junctional complex proteins
  • Transepithelial electrical resistance
  • Trichomonas vaginalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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