Persistence of Eggs and Hepatic Fibrosis after Treatment of Schistosoma Mansoni-Infected Mice

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  • Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Laboratory of Statistical and Mathematical Methodology, Division of Computer Research and Technology, National Institutes of Health, Department of Engineering, Swarthmore College, Bethesda, Maryland

In 1971 we estimated that Schistosoma mansoni eggs in the tissues of mice were destroyed with an approximate half-life of four weeks. Our present results of five experiments suggest that egg destruction is not as rapid, and no significant destruction of eggs was detected for up to 26 weeks after treatment. However, in these experiments, a mean of 60% of the eggs in intestinal tissues were found in the feces at the time of treatment. In previously reported experiments, only 15% of gut eggs were passed in the feces. We now believe that underestimation of the number of eggs passed in the feces led to an overestimation of the number of eggs destroyed in the tissues. We analyzed liver eggs separately because eggs lost from this site are unaffected by eggs passed in the feces. No significant decrease in liver eggs occurred in the present experiments, but reanalysis of previously published data showed significant egg destruction in the liver in several experiments, although at a much slower rate than previously estimated. However, inspection of the data in the previously published and present experiments does not show a convincing difference in the number of eggs in the liver after treatment. The persistence of egg shells is probably not important in the pathogenesis of disease, but is of concern in calculating worm fecundity. Hepatic collagen levels increased markedly two weeks after treatment and subsequently decreased significantly in some, but not all, experiments.