Fecundity reduction of BALB/c mice after survival from lethal Neodiplostomum seoulense infection
Neodiplostomum seoulense (Digenea: Neodiplostomidae), an intestinal trematode infecting humans and rodents, is known to be highly pathogenic and lethal to experimentally infected mice. Only a small proportion of mice can survive from its infection. This study aimed to assess the reproductive capacity of surviving BALB/c mice. The fertility of male and female mice, birth time (period from mating to birth of litters), number of litters, size and weight of testes or ovary-oviduct-uterus, apoptosis of testicular cells, and serum levels of sex hormones were determined. Our results revealed that surviving mice underwent severe fecundity reduction and finally became infertile. They could not be able to produce generations beyond F4. Fertility rate, birth time, and number of litters of N. seoulense-infected mice were all significantly (p < 0.05) lower than those of uninfected controls, Metagonimus miyatai (less pathogenic intestinal trematode)-infected, or castor oil (severe diarrheal agent)-administered controls. The size and weight of testes or ovary-oviduct-uterus were markedly (p < 0.05) decreased after N. seoulense infection. Moreover, the number of apoptotic cells in the testicular tissue was significantly (p < 0.05) increased (up to 10–50-folds) during weeks 1–3 post-infection. Serum testosterone levels in infertile mice were reduced to 1/10 level of fertile mice. These results indicated that BALB/c mice surviving N. seoulense infection underwent destruction and apoptosis of gonad tissues with fecundity reduction. They were finally infertile, with no ability to produce their next generations.
KeywordsNeodiplostomum seoulense Intestinal fluke Fecundity reduction Infertility Gonad degeneration
This work was supported by a grant (Research Fund no. 800–20060235) from Seoul National University College of Medicine, Republic of Korea.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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