Effect of praziquantel prolonged administration on granuloma formation around <i>Schistosoma japonicum</i> eggs in lung of sensitized mice
Schistosomiasis remains a major public health problem and it is an immune disease. The schistosome egg is the primary parasite factor responsible for the overt disease. The eggs release the soluble antigen, which induces intensive tissue reaction, a granulomatous reaction to the eggs. If granuloma formation could be suppressed, overt disease might not develop. Praziquantel is an effective antischistosomal drug especially for adult worms. However, whether praziquantel has a suppressing effect on granuloma formation around schistosome eggs directly remains unclear. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of praziquantel, especially administered persistently, on granuloma formation around Schistosoma japonicum eggs in the lung of sensitized mice. Thirty-six mice were divided into three groups averagely. Group A was a control group. First, the mice were injected with schistosomal eggs hypodermically in abdomen, and 10 days later injected with schistosomal eggs intravenously via a tail vein. Group B was a praziquantel short administration group. In addition to the injections of schistosomal eggs as the same of Group A, the mice were administered with praziquantel in a daily dose of 300 mg/kg for 3 days, from 1 day before the intravenous injection of the eggs. Group C was a praziquantel prolonged administration group. In addition to the injections of schistosomal eggs as the same of Group A, the mice were administered with praziquantel in a daily dose of 150 mg/kg for 5 days weekly until the mice were sacrificed. Three mice of each group were sacrificed on days 7, 14, 28, and 56, respectively after the intravenous injection of the eggs, and the lung tissues were fixed with formalin and the slices were HE stained. The granulomas containing eggs in their centers were selected, and 25–30 granulomas from the animals of each group were measured at each time period. The mean areas of egg granulomas of each group were calculated, and the neutrophilic granulocytes, eosinocytes, lymphocytes, fibroblasts, and macrophages within the egg granulomas were counted. The mean numbers of them of each group were calculated. All the data of each group were analyzed and compared statistically. On day 56 after the intravenous injection of the eggs, the mean area of schistosomal egg granulomas in group B was (227.4 ± 728.0) × 103 μm2, less than that of [(297.9 ± 153.3) × 103 μm2] in group A, and the suppression rate was 23.7% (P < 0.05). On days 7, 14, 28, and 56, the mean areas of schistosomal egg granulomas in group C were (575.8 ± 155.6) × 103 μm2, (310.5 ± 854.0) × 103 μm2, (267.7 ± 513.3) × 103 μm2, and (214.9 ± 446.4) × 103 μm2, respectively, significantly less than those of [(692.7 ± 232.6) × 103 μm2, (439.4 ± 165.0) × 103 μm2, (385.7 ± 129.3) × 103 μm2, and (297.9 ± 153.3) × 103 μm2] in group A. The suppression rates were 16.9%, 29.3%, 30.6%, and 27.9%, respectively (P values <0.05). On day 56, the mean numbers of neutrophilic granulocytes were 11.4 ± 5.0 in group A and 5.2 ± 3.1 in group C, respectively, with the suppression rate of 54.4% in group C (P < 0.05). On day 56, the mean numbers of eosinocytes within the egg granulomas were 2.3 ± 2.0, 0.1 ± 0.3, and 0.3 ± 0.6 in groups A, B, and C, respectively, with the suppression rate of 95.7% in group B and 87.0% in group C (P values <0.05). On day 56, the mean numbers of macrophages within egg granulomas were 14.3 ± 6.9 in group C, compared with 18.6 ± 8.2 in group A, the suppression rate was 23.1% (P < 0.05). On day 56, the mean numbers of fibroblasts within the egg granulomas were 6.6 ± 4.4 and 5.8 ± 2.6 in groups B and C, respectively, and compared with 14.3 ± 7.8 in group A, the increasing extents decreased by 53.8% and 59.4%, respectively (P values <0.05). Therefore, the administration of praziquantel, especially the prolonged administration, can suppress the formation of schistosomal egg granulomas, including reduction in the areas of granulomas and suppression of the inflammatory cells and the hyperplasia of fibroblasts within granulomas.