Host-Parasite Relationships in Echinococcosis

I. Observations on the Permeability of the Hydatid Cyst Wall

Calvin W. SchwabeDepartment of Tropical Health, Schools of Public Health and Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon

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While knowledge of the permeability of the hydatid cyst wall (HCW) appears to be basic to studies on hydatid metabolism, therapeutics and immunology, little attention in the past has been directed to this question. Dévé (1926, 1936) recognized the importance of permeability studies, but felt that they must wait upon successful in vitro cultivation of the hydatid cyst. Much earlier, Schilling (1904) had placed cysts in distilled water for 48 hours and noted at the end of that period, that the NaCl concentration and freezing point of the hydatid cyst fluid (HCF) and the surrounding medium were the same. Codounis and Polydoridès (1936) compared the concentrations of several ions and nonelectrolytes in blood sera and HCF and found that they were, for the most part, in close aggreement. Mazzacco (1923), who also examined the chemical composition of HCF, likened it to cerebrospinal fluid and surmised that the cyst wall must be permeable to “substances tres diffusibles.”