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Atherosclerosis. 2009 Nov;207(1):131-8. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.04.037. Epub 2009 May 4.

Effects of Schistosoma mansoni worms and eggs on circulating cholesterol and liver lipids in mice.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading BERKS RG6 6UB, UK.


It has previously been shown that experimental infections of the parasitic trematode Schistosoma mansoni, the adult worms of which reside in the blood stream of the mammalian host, significantly reduced atherogenesis in apolipoprotein E gene knockout (apoE(-/-)) mice. These effects occurred in tandem with a lowering of serum total cholesterol levels in both apoE(-/-) and random-bred laboratory mice and a beneficial increase in the proportion of HDL to LDL cholesterol. To better understand how the parasitic infections induce these effects we have here investigated the involvement of adult worms and their eggs on lipids in the host. Our results indicate that the serum cholesterol-lowering effect is mediated by factors released from S. mansoni eggs, while the presence of adult worms seemed to have had little or no effect. It was also observed that high levels of lipids, particularly triacylglycerols and cholesteryl esters, present in the uninfected livers of both random-bred and apoE(-/-)mice fed a high-fat diet were not present in livers of the schistosome-infected mice.

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