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Parasitology. 2010 May;137(6):991-1002. doi: 10.1017/S0031182009991764. Epub 2009 Dec 23.

Concurrent nematode infection and pregnancy induce physiological responses that impair linear growth in the murine foetus.

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  • 1Institute of Parasitology, McGill University (Macdonald Campus), 21 111 Lakeshore Road, Ste-Anne de Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9, Canada. maurice.odiere@mail.mcgill.ca


This study examined concurrent stresses of nematode infection and pregnancy using pregnant and non-pregnant CD1 mice infected 3 times with 0, 50 or 100 Heligmosomoides bakeri larvae. Physiological, energetic, immunological and skeletal responses were measured in maternal and foetal compartments. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) was elevated by pregnancy, but not by the trickle infection. Energy demands during pregnancy were met through increased food intake and fat utilization whereas mice lowered their body temperature during infection. Both infection and pregnancy increased visceral organ mass and both altered regional bone area and mineralization. During pregnancy, lumbar mineralization was lower but femur area and mineralization were higher. On the other hand, infection lowered maternal femur bone area and this was associated with higher IFN-gamma in maternal serum of heavily infected pregnant mice. Infection also reduced foetal crown-rump length which was associated with higher amniotic fluid IL-1 beta.

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