Research Highlights: Stem Cell Therapy after Praziquantel Treatment May Reduce Liver Damage in Schistosomiasis

Life cycle of Schistosoma. Image Source:

Original Article:

  • Mesenchymal stem cells have potential immunosuppressive and regenerative properties.
  • Researchers investigated whether transplantation of adipose tissue-derived stem cells could be used to control the granulomatous reaction in the liver of mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni after Praziquantel treatment.
  • Granulomatous reaction is a distinctive pattern of chronic inflammation characterized by nodular clustering of inflammatory cells, predominantly activated macrophages.
  • Schistosoma mansoni is a species of trematode worm that parasitizes humans and that causes liver and gastrointestinal tract disease.
  • Praziquantel is in a class of medications called anthelmintic and works by killing the worms.
  • Schistosomiasis is the second most widespread parasitic disease in the world and is caused by the Schistosoma trematode.
  • Schistosomiasis is characterized by a granulomatous reaction around parasite eggs trapped in the tissues.
  • Schistosomiasis occurs when skin comes in contact with contaminated freshwater in which certain types of snails that carry the parasite are living.
  • Schistosomiasis symptoms include rash or itchy skin, fever, chills, cough, and muscle aches.
  • The liver is one of the most affected organs and can develop severe scarring of connective tissue.
  • Praziquantel is the treatment for schistosomiasis and kills the adult worm.
  • After the Praziquantel treatment, inflammation still persists around the eggs in the tissues.
  • Mesenchymal stem cells have been extensively studied as an alternative therapy to repair tissues and to stop inflammation.
  • Mesenchymal stem cells have the potential to differentiate in several cells types, and to interfere with immune responses.
  • Researchers were motivated to investigate the use of mesenchymal stem cells extract from adipose tissue associated with Praziquantel to treat schistosomiasis.
  • Mice were treated with Praziquantel followed by adipose tissue-derived stem cells injection.
  • The results show significant reduction of the granulomas and normal levels of the enzyme alanine aminotransferase.
  • Alanine aminotransferase test is a blood test used to check for liver damage.
  • These results suggest that adipose tissue-derived stem cells has the potential to be used as a new therapeutic approach to control inflammation following infection by Smansoni or liver disorders.
  • Further studies using the chronic model of schistosomiasis are required to confirm using adipose tissue-derived stem cells for schistosomiasis therapy.
Schistosoma parasite. Courtesy of Beltran et al. (2008), PlosOne 3(10): e3328.


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