During chronic opisthorchiasis, pathogenesis is manifested in a series of well-defined stages as the normal tissue architecture of the biliary epithelium is progressively remodeled by the chronic inflammatory response from repeated injury sustained by the biliary epithelium from a combination ofthe mechanical, toxic, and immune mechanisms of the fluke in the bile duct. As individuals are infected with O. viverrini for many years (often a lifetime), a persistent cycle of tissue damage and repair takes place in the intrahepatic biliary ducts, creating a chronic inflammatory milieu that stimulates periductal fibrogenesis and provides the "smoldering and polarized" inflammatory basis for malignant transformation of biliary epithelial cells to cholangiocarcinoma (CCA). In project 1, we hypothesize the existence of a pro-inflammatory phenotype which is characterized by a inflammatory cytokine dysregulation such that, even after removal ofthe pathogen by PZQ, individuals with the pro-inflammatory phenotype continue to produce high levels of IL-6 and an unreversed (i.e., persistent) form of Advanced Periductal Fibrosis (APF). We further hypothesize that this persistent APF provides the basis for malignant transformation to CCA. Project 1 ofthe TMRC will focus on the processes involved in this chronic inflammatory phenotype and the progression from infection to persistent APF and eventually to malignant transformation (CCA) by undertaking the following specific aims: (1) continuing our a community-based cohort study for the risk factors associated with Advanced Periductal Fibrosis in villages with high O. viverrini transmission along the Chi River basin in Khon Kaen, Thailand to stratify infected individuals into those with "resolved" and "persistent" Advanced Periductal Fibrosis;(2) to determine the host inflammatory cytokine signaling pathways, such as the IL-6 signaling pathways, induced during chronic O. viverrini infection on the risk of progressing either resolved or persistent advanced periductal fibrosis, and bile duct cancer;and (3) examine the genetic diversity ofthe O. viverrini parasite by microsatellite DNA analysis and its association with resolved and persistent forms advanced periductal fibrosis. .
Individuals residents in O. viverrini endemic areas can remain infected for a lifetime. However, only 25% of O. viverrini-infected individuals develop periductal fibrosis and 1 % progress to CCA. The observation that individuals living under similar transmission conditions show differing rates of APF and CCA indicates a strong role for diverse host and parasite factors in the disease process.
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