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Acta Trop. 2009 Feb;109(2):141-5. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2008.10.011. Epub 2008 Nov 8.

Taenia crassiceps infection disrupts estrous cycle and reproductive behavior in BALB/c female mice.

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Departamento de Biología de la Reproducción, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Iztapalapa, A.P., México, D.F., Mexico.


Previously, it has been shown that parasitic infections are able to alter the normal mammal physiology, at several extents. Thus, we investigated the effects on estrous cycle and sexual behavior induced by intraperitoneal infection with Taenia crassiceps in female host mice. Along the weeks of infection, parasites were collected from the peritoneal cavity of female mice, showing the maximum parasite load at 16 weeks. No parasites were found outside peritoneal cavity. Vaginal estrous cycle was monitored daily for 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks of infection, and results compared against age-matched female mice. Female sexual behavior (FSB) tests were performed, one test per week. Immediately after the last behavioral test, blood was collected by cardiac puncture for steroid determinations. First of all, there was a strong tissular damage in the female reproductive tract in all infected females. The phases of the estrous cycle were interrupted at 12 and 16 weeks, with increased leukocytes and the presence of a few cornified epithelial cells and nucleated epithelial cells. The FSB decreased starting 6 weeks post infection. On the 16th week, all infected female mice ceased to exhibit sexual responses, and estradiol levels showed a significant decrease. Control mice continued showing FSB and the different phases of the estrous cycle throughout the observation period. Our results strength the notion that parasites may be considered as an evolutionary force in the reproductive ability of mammals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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