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Effect of single-dose oral mefloquine on the morphology of adult Schistosoma japonicum in mice


It has been recently documented that the antimalarial drug mefloquine shows in vivo activity against schistosomes. In the present study, we assessed the effect of mefloquine on the morphology of adult Schistosoma japonicum worms. Mice were infected with S. japonicum cercariae for 35 days and then treated with a single 400-mg/kg oral dose of mefloquine. Groups of mice were killed between 24 h and 14 days post-treatment and worms were recovered from the liver and mesenteric veins, fixed in 70% alcohol, stained with acid carmine, and examined under a light microscope. Worms obtained from nontreated mice served as controls. S. japonicum recovered from mice 24 h post-treatment had severely dilated guts and the entire worm body was swollen. Meanwhile, reproductive glands, including the testis, ovary, and vitelline gland, showed signs of degeneration. Damage further progressed, particularly among vitelline glands, which resulted in disturbance of ova formation and cessation of oviposition 3 days post-treatment. Three to 7 days after mefloquine administration, adherence of host leukocytes on the damaged tegument was observed. Our results confirm that mefloquine possesses antischistosomal properties, exhibiting a rapid onset of action and causing extensive morphologic damage to adult S. japonicum.

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This investigation received financial support from the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Shanghai, China). J. Utzinger (project no. PPOOB-102883, PPOOB-119129) and J. Keiser (project no. PPOOA-114941) are grateful to the Swiss National Science Foundation for the financial support.

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Correspondence to Shu-Hua Xiao.

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Xiao, S., Chollet, J., Utzinger, J. et al. Effect of single-dose oral mefloquine on the morphology of adult Schistosoma japonicum in mice. Parasitol Res 105, 853 (2009).

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  • Mefloquine
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Praziquantel
  • Artemether
  • Female Worm