Serologic and Ultrasonographic Parameters of Praziquantel Treatment of Hepatic Fibrosis in Schistosoma japonicum Infection

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  • Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
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We describe the parameters useful in evaluating the development of hepatic fibrosis in Schistosoma japonicum infection, as well as its improvement after treatment with praziquantel (PZQ). Various serologic parameters and ultrasonographic images were examined, and their changes were monitored using rabbits infected with 200 or 300 cercariae of S. japonicum. Infected rabbits were administered one oral treatment of PZQ at a dosage of 100 mg/kg at 6, 12, or 24 weeks after infection. Histopathologic examinations revealed that PZQ had a strong and rapid effect, even on damage that developed long after the infection. The improvement of moderate hepatic fibrosis that developed over 24 weeks after infection was also detected by histopathologic examinations. The serum level of total bile acid was the most sensitive parameter in evaluating the severity of hepatic fibrosis and its improvement after treatment with PZQ. The level of serum procollagen-III-peptide was also useful in evaluating the development of hepatic fibrosis, but not in its improvement. Ultrasonography revealed specific echogenic bands and nodules according to the progress of granuloma formation and fibrosis, and the reversal of these changes could also be observed after treatment with PZQ.