Tetraspanins from the liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini stimulate cholangiocyte migration and inflammatory cytokine production

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Folia parasitologica






CD63-like tetraspanins; cholangiocarcinoma; extracellular vesicle (EVs); host-parasite interaction


The liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini (Poirier, 1886) (Digenea) secretes extracellular vesicles (EVs) bearing CD63-like tetraspanins on their surface. Fluke EVs are actively internalised by host cholangiocytes in the bile ducts, where they drive pathology and promote neoplasia through induction of cellular proliferation and secretion of inflammatory cytokines. We investigated the effects of tetraspanins of the CD63 superfamily by co-culturing recombinant forms of the large extracellular loop (LEL) of O. viverrini tetraspanin-2 (rLEL-Ov-TSP-2) and tetraspanin-3 (rLEL-Ov-TSP-3) with non-cancerous human bile duct (H69) and cholangiocarcinoma (CCA, M213) cell lines. The results showed that cell lines co-cultured with excretory/secretory products from adult O. viverrini (Ov-ES) underwent significantly increased cell proliferation at 48 hours but not 24 hours compared to untreated control cells (P < 0.05), whereas rLEL-Ov-TSP-3 co-culture resulted in significantly increased cell proliferation at both 24 hours (P < 0.05) and 48 hours (P < 0.01) time points. In like fashion, H69 cholangiocytes co-cultured with both Ov-ES and rLEL-Ov-TSP-3 underwent significantly elevated Il-6 and Il-8 gene expression for at least one of the time points assessed. Finally, both rLEL-Ov-TSP-2 and rLEL-Ov-TSP-3 significantly enhanced migration of both M213 and H69 cell lines. These findings indicated that O. viverrini CD63 family tetraspanins can promote a cancerous microenvironment by enhancing innate immune responses and migration of biliary epithelial cells.


Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine