Sweat might act as one of the most probable factors for infection by this skin-penetrating nematode.
The host-finding behavior of Strongyloides stercoralis infective larvae was examined by in vitro agarose assay method. As human body fluid contains 0.85% (ca 0.15 molar) NaCl, various concentrations of sodium chloride, from 0.5M to 0.01M (7 steps), were examined.
Many larvae were attracted at concentrations between 0.5 and 0.05M of sodium chloride. The concentration of 0.05M attracted the most larvae. The concentration of 0.02M of sodium chloride showed greatly reduced larval attraction compared with 0.05M. Therefore, the threshold concentration was determined as 0.05M. Then, 0.05M of chemicals were examined in a further experiment. Chloride compounds (NaCl, KCl, CaCl2, MgCl2) were investigated. These chemicals are components of human body fluids.
Distilled water was used as the control in all experiments. Only sodium chloride attracted the larvae. Next, alkaline compounds were examined [NaOH, KOH, Ca(OH)2, and Mg(OH)2]. Larvae accumulated only at the NaOH site. The results suggested that the Na cation is important for larval attraction. A high pH value did not influence attraction at all. Next, human serum was tested. The human serum used was from normal serum to 1:32 diluted sera by distilled water (7 steps). Hierarchical attraction was seen according to serum concentration.
Next, human sweat was collected from a limited zone of chest skin where only eccrine glands were distributed. Non-diluted sweat attracted the most larvae. Sweat might act as one of the most probable factors for infection by this skin-penetrating nematode.