Although the presence of intact host proteins in the cyst fluid of cyclophyllidean metacestodes has been well documented, the underlying reason for protein uptake is poorly understood. To investigate this discrepancy, both the cyst fluid (CF) and excreted/secreted (E/ S) proteins were collected in vitro from Taenia crassiceps metacestodes 16 wk postinfection in Balb/cJ female mice. The CF and E/S were subsequently immunoblotted using rabbit anti-mouse whole serum antibodies as a probe. The results show that whole host proteins were not only internalized by metacestodes but also secreted as well. The predominant secreted host protein was 66 kDa and was confirmed to be mouse serum albumin. The amount of secreted albumin decreased daily, whereas the concentration of albumin in the cyst fluid remained consistent. This suggests that the secretion of albumin is a coordinated function rather than a random event. It is probable that albumin cycling may be an evolved mechanism providing multiple benefits for the larvae, including osmoregulation and protection from innate immune responses.

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