Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases





Inclusive Pages

Article number e2228




Biological Markers--analysis; Opisthorchiasis--diagnosis; Opisthorchiasis--pathology; Opisthorchis--pathogenicity; Proteinuria--diagnosis; Proteinuria--etiology


Approximately 680 million people are at risk of infection with Opisthorchis viverrini (OV) andClonorchis sinensis, with an estimated 10 million infected with OV in Southeast Asia alone. While opisthorchiasis is associated with hepatobiliary pathologies, such as advanced periductal fibrosis (APF) and cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), animal models of OV infection show that immune-complex glomerulonephritis is an important renal pathology that develops simultaneously with hepatobiliary pathologies. A cardinal sign of immune-complex glomerulonephritis is the urinary excretion of immunoglobulin G (IgG) (microproteinuria). In community-based studies in OV endemic areas along the Chi River in northeastern Thailand, we observed that over half of the participants had urine IgG against a crude OV antigen extract (OV antigen). We also observed that elevated levels of urine IgG to OV antigen were not associated with the intensity of OV infection, but were likely the result of immune-complex glomerulonephritis as seen in animal models of OV infection. Moreover, we observed that urine IgG to OV antigen was excreted at concentrations 21 times higher in individuals with APF and 158 times higher in individuals with CCA than controls. We also observed that elevated urine IgG to OV antigen could identify APF+ and CCA+ individuals from non-cases. Finally, individuals with urine IgG to OV antigen had a greater risk of APF as determined by Odds Ratios (OR = 6.69; 95%CI: 2.87, 15.58) and a greater risk of CCA (OR = 71.13; 95%CI: 15.13, 334.0) than individuals with no detectable level of urine IgG to OV antigen. Herein, we show for the first time the extensive burden of renal pathology in OV endemic areas and that a urine biomarker could serve to estimate risk for both renal and hepatobiliary pathologies during OV infection, i.e., serve as a “syndromic biomarker” of the advanced pathologies from opisthorchiasis.


Reproduced with permission of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

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