Inverse Associations of Schistosoma mansoni Infection and Metabolic Syndromes in Humans: A Cross-Sectional Study in Northeast Ethiopia

Microbiol Insights. 2019 May 22;12:1178636119849934. doi: 10.1177/1178636119849934. eCollection 2019.


Background: Recent animal and retrospective human studies have demonstrated that Schistosoma mansoni infection may have potential to protect against development of metabolic syndromes. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess metabolic panel among S. mansoni egg positives and egg negatives in stool examinations. This study was a cross-sectional study, conducted involving 120 participants from S. mansoni endemic town (Kemise) and 61 from non-endemic town (Kombolcha), Northeast Ethiopia. Stool samples were collected and examined for S. mansoni and other helminths using Kato-Katz method. Furthermore, blood samples were collected and used for determination of blood sugar, lipid profile tests, insulin, and C-reactive protein. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 20. Chi-square test, independent mean t-test, and logistic regression models were employed on data. P values less than .05 were considered as statistically significant.

Results: S. mansoni infected participants (n = 41; all from Kemise) had significantly lower levels of fasting blood sugar, low prevalence of dyslipidemia (at least one or more abnormal lipid profile tests; total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-C], high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-C], and triglycerides) as compared with controls (n = 79 in Kemise and 61 in Kombolcha). Moreover, logistic regression model indicated that with the adjusted odds ratios, there was significant inverse association between S. mansoni infection and impaired fasting glucose (adjusted odds ratio -0.181, 95% confidence interval: 0.042-0.774).

Conclusions: Low fasting blood sugar and reduced prevalence of dyslipidemia in S. mansoni egg positive participants might suggest inverse association of S. mansoni infection and development of metabolic syndromes. Furthermore, large-scale studies are recommended to assess the role of S. mansoni egg and/or worm antigens in modulating the host metabolic profile and reducing the risk of metabolic syndromes, including diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: Schistosoma mansoni; dyslipidemia; impaired fasting blood glucose; metabolic syndrome.