Deposition and Maturation of Eggs of Schistosoma Mansoni in Vitro: Importance of Fatty Acids in Serum-Free Media

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  • Department of Tropical Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115

A serum-free medium which supports miracidial development in some eggs deposited by adult Schistosoma mansoni in vitro is described. Derivation of the medium involved examination of the supportiveness of nine chemically defined media, selection of one promoting the highest degree of worm oviposition, and supplementation of the latter with various serum fractions. The serum fraction supporting egg maturation was nondialyzable, and precipitated at 50–60% ammonium sulfate saturation. This fraction could be replaced by bovine serum albumin; however, the supportive activity disappeared if this material was delipidated. Addition of soybean lecithin, or stearic acid, to fatty-acid-free, albumin-supplemented media yielded intermediate results, while similar addition of other nonesterified fatty acids proved non stimulatory. A fatty acid mixture, rich in stearic acid, was then developed which, when added to delipidated-albumin supplemented media, supported a degree of egg development comparable to that obtained with media supplemented with 8% newborn calf serum.