Schistosoma haematobium infection is associated with alterations in energy and purine-related metabolism in preschool-aged children

Derick Osakunor, Takafira Mduluza, Douglas Osei-Hyiaman, Karl E.V. Burgess, Mark Woolhouse, Francisca Mutapi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Helminths are parasitic worms that infect over a billion people worldwide. The pathological consequences from infection are due in part to parasite-induced changes in host metabolic pathways. Here, we analyse the changes in host metabolic profiles, in response to the first Schistosoma haematobium infection and treatment in Zimbabwean children. A cohort of 83 schistosome-negative children (2–5 years old) as determined by parasitological examination, guardian interviews and examination of medical records, was recruited at baseline. Children were followed up after three months for parasitological diagnosis of their first S. haematobium infection, by detection of parasite eggs excreted in urine. Children positive for infection were treated with the antihelminthic drug praziquantel, and treatment efficacy checked three months after treatment. Blood samples were taken at each time point, and capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry in conjunction with multivariate analysis were used to compare the change in serum metabolite profiles in schistosome-infected versus uninfected children. Following baseline at the three-month follow up, 11 children had become infected with S. haematobium (incidence = 13.3%). Our results showed that infection with S. haematobium was associated with significant increases (>2-fold) in discriminatory metabolites, linked primarily with energy (G6P, 3-PG, AMP, ADP) and purine (AMP, ADP) metabolism. These observed changes were commensurate with schistosome infection intensity, and levels of the affected metabolites were reduced following treatment, albeit not significantly. This study demonstrates that early infection with S. haematobium is associated with alterations in host energy and purine metabolism. Taken together, these changes are consistent with parasite-related clinical manifestations of malnutrition, poor growth and poor physical and cognitive performance observed in schistosome-infected children.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0008866
Number of pages23
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Schistosoma haematobium infection is associated with alterations in energy and purine-related metabolism in preschool-aged children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this