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Acta Trop. 2008 Oct;108(1):35-43. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2008.08.007. Epub 2008 Sep 3.

Anaemia in advanced chronic fasciolosis.

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  • 1Departamento de Parasitología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Valencia, Av. Vicente Andrés Estellés s/n, 46100 Burjassot, Valencia, Spain.


The association between fasciolosis-induced anaemia and related factors has been quantified in a rodent model. Haematological parameters were analysed in Wistar rats at 20 and 60 weeks post-infection (p.i.). Pigment stones and bile specimens were collected. Serum IgG1, IgG2a and IgE were determined in rat serum samples. Cytokine levels have been correlated with haematological parameters. The screening for gastrointestinal bleeding was carried out. Bacteriological bile cultures revealed viable bacteria in 53.8% of specimens at 60 weeks p.i. The results show that the type of anaemia in fasciolosis might be considered a biomarker of the chronicity period of the disease, changing from normocytic to macrocytic in the early chronic period (20 weeks p.i.) and to microcytic in the advanced chronic period (60 weeks p.i.). Likewise, changing from normochromic in the early chronic period to hypochromic in the advanced chronic period. Multivariate analysis suggested an association between anaemia and the following factors: fluke burden, eggs per gram of faeces, body area of parasite, presence of blood in faeces, IgG1 and eosinophil levels, and % of splenic weight. Of all variables analysed, the fluke burden is the one which presents the highest anaemia risk, even exceeding the variable presence of blood in faeces. The development of anaemia appears to be complex and may involve multiple mechanisms. However, to the mechanisms that until now explain Fascioliosis-related anaemia (compensatory increase in erythrocyte production and a continuous drain on iron stores resulting from the parasites' blood-sucking activities) the following causes ought to be added: haemolysis of red blood cells, the general effects of inflammation on erythropoiesis, concomitant parasitic and bacterial infections and pre-morbid nutritional abnormalities. Extrapolation to human fasciolosis is discussed. The results of the rodent model lead to the assumption that a high risk of anaemia in subjects with a heavy parasitic burden in human hyperendemic areas of fasciolosis is to be expected.

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