In urban domiciles, Blattella germanica allergens have been implicated in human asthma and allergies and are noted triggers in the increasing cases of childhood asthma. These allergens found in the dust and air of homes have been identified in fecal and whole body extracts of cockroaches. The gregarine (Apicomplexa: Gregarinasina) parasite, Gregarina blattarum, is found infesting the midgut of B. germanica and their cysts and spores are found in the cockroach feces. It is not known whether gregarine spores are related to childhood asthma. In order to study the correlation between human asthma and Gregarina blattarum, it is necessary to investigate both the sporadin and the spore stages.
Gregarines were removed from the host, Blattella germanica, and cultivated in a modified culture media (Abe and Aoyama, 1979). The sporadin were found to live and move for at least five days in this solution. Isoelectric point focusing was employed with glutamic acid, serine, lysine, and a simplified culture solution to produce a pH gradient from four to twelve, which was monitored using the non-invasive vibrating probe. Gregarines were introduced into the solution and their movement was observed as an indicator for the effect of the pH. Results indicated that the sporadin can survive in a wide pH range and that their rate of movement may be affected by differences in pH.
Cysts were obtained from cockroach feces, cleaned, and placed in a moist chamber to facilitate sporulation. Extruded spores in long strings were collected, but purification has not yet been successful.
Further work includes using the vibrating probe on the sporadin to detect ion fluxes associated with its gliding mode of locomotion, purification of the spores, and immunohistochemistry on the spores using human allergic serum.