The energy metabolism of Schistosoma mansoni during its development in the hamster

B E van Oordt, A G Tielens, S G van den Bergh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    A detailed study was made of the changes in the carbohydrate metabolism of Schistosoma mansoni occurring during both the penetration of the skin of a hamster and the subsequent development of the schistosome in the lung, liver, and mesenteric veins of the host. During infection, within a few hours a transition occurs from a fully aerobic to a largely anaerobic energy metabolism. By 5 h postinfection, about 6% of carbohydrate breakdown occurs in the aerobic reactions of the Krebs cycle, whereas the rest occurs in the anaerobic formation of lactate. The contribution of aerobic processes to carbohydrate breakdown remains at this level of 6% until 3 weeks postinfection and then gradually declines to the adult level of 2.5%. Measurement of the protein content of developing schistosomes shows that an exponential growth occurs over a 15-day period after the arrival of the schistosomes in the liver (days 11-25 postinfection). During this period the protein content of the parasites increases about 100-fold, but despite this change in size, no major changes occur in the end-product pattern of carbohydrate breakdown. We conclude that during this period the rate of oxygen diffusion into the tissues is not a limiting factor for aerobic metabolism. A limited diffusion of oxygen may play a role in the decreasing contribution of aerobic processes during the later stages of maturation of the schistosomes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-5
    Number of pages5
    JournalParasitology Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1988


    • Aerobiosis
    • Anaerobiosis
    • Animals
    • Carbohydrate Metabolism
    • Carbon Dioxide
    • Citric Acid Cycle
    • Cricetinae
    • Energy Metabolism
    • Glycogen
    • Lactates
    • Lung
    • Proteins
    • Schistosoma mansoni
    • Schistosomiasis mansoni
    • Skin


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