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Changes in the small intestine of Schistosoma mansoni-infected mice fed a high-fat diet



The consumption of a high-fat diet modifies both the morphology of the small intestine and experimentally tested effects of schistosomiasis mansoni. However, whether a schistosomiasis infection associated with a high-fat diet causes injury to the small intestine has never been investigated. Mice were fed either a high-fat or a standard-fat diet for 6 months and were then infected with Schistosoma mansoni cercariae. Physical characteristics of the intestinal tissue (mucosal thickness, small intestinal villi length and height, and abundance of goblet cells and enterocytes on the villous surface) and the distribution of granulomas along the intestinal segments and their developmental stage were measured at the time of sacrifice (9 or 17 weeks post-infection). The group fed a high-fat diet exhibited different granuloma stages, whereas the control group possessed only exudative granulomas. The chronically infected mice fed a high-fat diet exhibited higher granuloma and egg numbers than the acutely infected group. Exudative, exudative/exudative-productive and exudative-productive granulomas were present irrespective of diet. Computer-aided morphometric analysis confirmed that villus length, villus width, muscular height and submucosal height of the duodenal and jejunal segments were affected by diet and infection. In conclusion, a high-fat diet and infection had a significant impact on the small intestine morphology and morphometry among the animals tested.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Laboratório de Helmintologia Romero Lascasas Porto, Departamento de Microbiologia, Imunologia e Parasitologia, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Centro Biomédico, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rua Prof. Manoel de Abreu, 444, 5° andar, CEP: 20511- 070, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. E-mail:


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Changes in the small intestine of Schistosoma mansoni-infected mice fed a high-fat diet



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