Tissue responses in experimental schistosomiasis japonica in the pig: a histopathologic study of different stages of single low- or high-dose infections.

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  • 1 Department of Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.

The tissue responses of pigs exposed to either 100 or 2,000 Schistosoma japonicum cercariae were examined at 4, 11, 17, and 24 weeks postinfection (PI) to explore the pig as an animal model for pathologic aspects of human schistosomiasis japonica. Egg granulomas were present in the liver, intestine, and occasionally in the lungs from 11 weeks PI. There were also many free eggs and early exudative reactions to eggs in the intestine. At 11 weeks PI, pigs in the higher dose group showed marked periportal and septal fibrosis with minimal parenchymal destruction. Thereafter, lesions regressed spontaneously as the pigs underwent a self-cure. The lower dose group showed only mild lesions throughout the study. The degree of hepatic fibrosis was correlated with the density of eggs and granulomas in liver tissue. The results indicate that the pig would be particularly useful for studies of the development and resolution of schistosomal hepatic fibrosis, and also for investigations of the mechanisms behind the self-cure phenomenon.