Schistosoma mansoni infection is known to induce granulomas, not only in the liver and intestine, but also in the brain, resulting in neuropathological and psychiatric disorders. In the past, the interaction between Schistosoma mansoni infection and the nervous system has received little attention. Here, Luigi Aloe and Marco Fiore discuss recent findings from experimental Schistosoma mansoni infection in the mouse nervous system showing that brain granulomas are associated with a significant alteration in the constitutive expression of nerve growth factor, a neurotrophic factor that plays an essential role in growth and differentiation and in preventing neuronal damage. These findings suggest that the neuropathological dysfunctions in neuroschistosomiasis may be linked to changes in the basal levels and/or activity of neurotrophic factors caused by local formation of granulomas.
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