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The parasites caught in-action: Imaging at the host–Parasite interface

 Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Department of Medical Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Beni-Suef University, Beni-Suef, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Mohammed A Afifi,
Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box. 80205, Jeddah 21589

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JMAU.JMAU_1_20

For many decades, scientists were unable to expose the invisible existence of the parasites in their living hosts, except by scarification and then dissection of the animal model. This process just demonstrates a dead parasite in a dead host. Using this approach, very limited information can be obtained concerning the dynamics of infection and the pathways utilized by the parasite to survive within a hostile host's environment. Introduction of ultra-high-speed imaging techniques, with a time domain of barely few microseconds or even less, has revolutionized the "in vivo dissection" of the parasites. Such methods provide platforms for imaging host–parasite interactions at diverse scales, down to the molecular level. These have complementary advantages and relative assets in investigating host–parasite interactions. Therefore, better elucidation of such interaction may require the usage of more than one approach. Precise in vivo quantification, of the parasite load within the host, and better insight into the kinetics of infection are the two main advantages of the novel imaging procedures. However, imaging parasite–host interplay is still a challenging approach due to many constraints related to the parasite biology, the tissue environment within which the parasites exist, and the logistic technical limitations. This review was planned to assist better understanding of how much the new imaging techniques impacted the recent advances in parasite biology, especially the immunobiology of protozoan parasites.

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