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Oestrus cycle perturbations and hypotrophy of clitoral glands in malaria-infected female BALB/c mice

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An experimental host-parasite association involving BALB/c female mice infected with Plasmodium vinckei petteri was used with the aim of investigating the morphological and physiological alterations induced by the parasite in the genital tract of the host. The vaginal oestrous cycle was monitored as a daily clue to the sexual physiology of the female mice, and a complete histological analysis of the genital tract was performed 36 days following parasite inoculation. The oestrous cycle showed strong transitory alterations during the first 30 days following infection. The occurrence of oestrus days increased during the first 10 days post-infection and then decreased to a subnormal value during the following 20 days. Infected mice also showed a remarkable hypotrophy of their clitoral glands 30 days after the beginning of the malarial infection. A probable cause of such perturbations is a significant hormonal imbalance triggered by the erythrocytic proliferation of the Plasmodium. The relationship between the immune response of the host and these physiological and morphological alterations, as well as the outcomes of these alterations on the sexuality of the rodent host are discussed.

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Barthelemy, M., Vuong, P.N., Gabrion, C. et al. Oestrus cycle perturbations and hypotrophy of clitoral glands in malaria-infected female BALB/c mice. Parasitol Res 89, 134–140 (2003).

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  • Immune Response
  • Plasmodium
  • Histological Analysis
  • Female Mouse
  • Infected Mouse