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Physiol Behav. 1998 Nov 15;65(2):347-53.

Infection with Schistosoma mansoni in mice induces changes in nociception and exploratory behavior.

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Institute of Neurobiology, CNR, Rome, Italy.


In this study, CD-1 mice were infected percutaneously with 1600 cercariae of Schistosoma mansoni and their pain sensitivity and exploratory behavior were analyzed in well-standardized tests (hot-plate, hole-board, open-field, novel object investigation and black/white box). Schistosome infection produced body weight reduction, increased analgesia, induced changes in the number of fecal pellets emitted during the hole-board and the black/white tests, induced decreased locomotion in the open-field, decreased sniffing, rearing, wall-rearing and time spent in exploratory activity. The infection also lengthened the latency time to the first transition from the white into the black compartment in the black/white box, index of enhanced anxiety. The present findings indicate that the analgesia is one of the main effects of the disease suggesting that schistosome infection induces maladaptive response in exploratory behavior and in locomotor activity of the host associated with altered motivational and attentional levels. Furthermore, though mouse behavioral changes appear to be similar to those observed in parasite/host systems where the changes are supposed to be adaptive for the parasite, in the case of Schistosoma/mouse system, the changes in host behavior resulted to be not adaptive for the parasite.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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