Parasitology



Effect of iron deficiency on Trichuris suis and Ascaris suum infections in pigs


S.  PEDERSEN  a1 c1, I.  SAEED  a1, H.  FRIIS  a2 a3 and K. F.  MICHAELSEN  a2
a1 Danish Centre for Experimental Parasitology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Ridebanevej 3, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark
a2 Research Department of Human Nutrition, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Ridebanevej 3, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark
a3 Danish Bilharziasis Laboratory, Jaegersborg Allé 1D, DK-2920, Charlottenlund, Denmark

Article author query
pedersen s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
saeed i   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
friis h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
michaelsen k   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

The objective of this experiment was to detect a possible interaction between iron deficiency and intestinal nematode infections. We report on a 2×2 study where thirty-one 10-week-old pigs fed a low or a normal iron diet were infected with both Trichuris suis (4500 eggs) and Ascaris suum (1200 eggs). No significant difference was detected between diet groups with respect to parasitological parameters for A. suum or the total number of adult T. suis recovered at necropsy 10 weeks p.i. However, in the low iron group T. suis were located more proximally and the worms were increased in length. A higher proportion of pigs with initial faecal egg excretion at 6 weeks p.i. was observed in the low iron group, indicating a shortened pre-patency period. Worm fecundity and total faecal egg excretion were also highest in the low iron group. A significant correlation was found between female worm length and fecundity. The peripheral eosinophil counts were diminished in the low iron host groups. The infected low iron group experienced more severe pathophysiological changes in terms of hypoalbuminaemia and decreases in erythrocyte volumes. A significant inverse correlation existed between iron content in the bone-marrow and liver (body) store. In conclusion, iron deficiency increased the severity of T. suis infection in pigs.

(Received June 24 2000)
(Revised November 10 2000)
(Accepted November 11 2000)


Key Words: Trichuris suis; whipworm; pig; swine; single infection; iron deficiency.

Correspondence:
c1 Corresponding author: Danish Centre for Experimental Parasitology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Ridebanevej 3, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark. Tel: +45 35282775. Fax: +45 35282774. E-mail: skp@kvl.dk


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