Maternal malnutrition during the lactation period in early development may have long-term programming effects on adult offspring. We evaluated the combined effects of parasitological behaviour and histopathological features and malnutrition during lactation. Lactating mice and their pups were divided into a control group (fed a normal diet of 23% protein), a protein-restricted group (PR) (fed a diet containing 8% protein) and a caloric-restricted group (CR) (fed according to the PR group intake). At the age of 60 days, the offspring were infected with Schistosoma mansoni
cercariae and killed at nine weeks post-infection. Food intake, body and liver masses, leptinaemia, corticosteronaemia, collagen morphometry and neogenesis and the cellular composition of liver granulomas were studied. PR offspring showed reduced weight gain and hypophagia, whereas CR offspring became overweight and developed hyperphagia. The pre-patent period was longer (45 days) in both programmed offspring as compared to controls (40 days). The PR-infected group had higher faecal and intestinal egg output and increased liver damage. The CR-infected group showed a lower number of liver granulomas, increased collagen neogenesis and a higher frequency of binucleate hepatocytes, suggesting a better modulation of the inflammatory response and increased liver regeneration. Taken together, our findings suggest that neonatal malnutrition of offspring during lactation affects the outcome of schistosomiasis in mice.