To elucidate aspects of pathogenesis of congenital infections with Schistosoma japonicum, 5 Danish crossbred sows were infected during late pregnancy with a Chinese isolate of S. japonicum, and 17 of their offspring (fetuses and piglets) were examined 7, 20, 34, 54, and 69 days postinfection (PI). Organ samples were collected for histopathological examination with emphasis on liver and lung. Samples of the corresponding placenta were also collected from fetuses at postmortem examinations. Perfusions were performed on some of the fetuses to recover schistosomes, and in addition, amniotic fluid was examined for schistosomes. A schistosomulum was found in a 99-day-old fetus 3 wk PI. Eggs were found in meconium from 109-day-old fetuses 34 days after infection of the dam, showing that the prepatent time was the same as in postnatal infections. Piglets examined 54 and 69 days PI had inflammatory reactions in their livers, and progression toward healing and repair of the inflammatory reaction occurred from 54 to 69 days PI. This pilot study is one of the bases for the model of congenital schistosomiasis used currently at the Danish Centre for Experimental Parasitology.
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