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An anti-atherogenic effect of Schistosoma mansoni infections in mice associated with a parasite-induced lowering of blood total cholesterol

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 January 2003

M. J. DOENHOFF
Affiliation:
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales Bangor, Bangor LL57 2UW, UK
R. G. STANLEY
Affiliation:
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales Bangor, Bangor LL57 2UW, UK
K. GRIFFITHS
Affiliation:
Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor LL57 2PW, UK
C. L. JACKSON
Affiliation:
Bristol Heart Institute, University of Bristol, Bristol BS2 8HW, UK

Abstract

In affluent societies the prevalences of so-called ‘Western’ diseases such as atherosclerosis, allergies and autoimmune disorders appear to have increased, while many diseases caused by communicable infections are now relatively less common. To test whether there may be a causal relationship we examined the effects of Schistosoma mansoni infections in mice that develop cardiovascular pathology as a result of a genetic deficiency in apolipoprotein E (apoE−/−). The development of atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic arch and brachiocephalic artery of the apoE−/− mice was reduced by approximately 50% in mice with the parasitic infection, when comparison was made with uninfected control mice fed the same diet. Observations on S. mansoni-infected conventional laboratory mice indicate that patent schistosome infections could be counteracting the effects of an atherogenic diet by modulating host lipid metabolism and inducing a reduction in blood total cholesterol concentrations.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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An anti-atherogenic effect of Schistosoma mansoni infections in mice associated with a parasite-induced lowering of blood total cholesterol
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