Pigment Formation in Schistosoma mansoni Infections in the White Mouse

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  • Department of Microbiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois


A method is described for the extraction and quantitation of schistosome pigment from samples of mouse liver. Pigment production per pair of Schistosoma mansoni has been found to be linear with time in experiments lasting as long as 196 days after infection. Daily pigment production, expressed in terms of hemin, is 1.19 micrograms per pair, and 0.29 micrograms per male in unisexual male infections. The pigment content in one pair of flukes is 0.50 micrograms.

Spectra of liver pigment and of pigment extracted from pairs of S. mansoni are similar to each other and to the spectrum of hemin. All the data presented suggest that schistosome pigment is a complex porphyrin compound.

The iron content of the pigment and of liver samples has been determined. In general it has been found that pigment content of the liver is a better measure of the number of fluke-days of infection than is the iron content per se.