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Parasite Immunol. 2007 May;29(5):259-66.

Chronic exposure to schistosome eggs reduces serum cholesterol but has no effect on atherosclerotic lesion development.

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1
School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. anne.laflamme@vuw.ac.nz

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that people infected with schistosomiasis have lower levels of serum cholesterol than uninfected controls. To better understand the impact of this parasitic infection on serum cholesterol levels and on atherosclerotic lesion development induced by hypercholesterolemia, apolipoprotein E (ApoE)-deficient mice were chronically exposed to the eggs of Schistosoma mansoni over a period of 16 weeks. Total serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were reduced in egg-exposed ApoE-deficient mice fed a diet high in cholesterol compared to unexposed controls. However, exposure to eggs had no effect on atherosclerotic lesion size or progression in ApoE-deficient mice. Macrophages isolated from egg-exposed mice had an enhanced ability to take up LDL but not acetylated LDL (acLDL). This study suggests that schistosome eggs alone may alter serum lipid profiles through enhancing LDL uptake by macrophages, but these changes do not ultimately affect atherosclerotic lesion development.

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