Undernourished mice infected (UI) submitted to low and long-lasting infections by Schistosoma mansoni
are unable to develop the hepatic periportal fibrosis that is equivalent to Symmers’ fibrosis in humans. In this report, the effects of the host’s nutritional status on parasite (worm load, egg viability and maturation) and host (growth curves, biology, collagen synthesis and characteristics of the immunological response) were studied and these are considered as interdependent factors influencing the amount and distribution of fibrous tissue in hepatic periovular granulomas and portal spaces. The nutritional status of the host influenced the low body weight and low parasite burden detected in UI mice as well as the number, viability and maturation of released eggs. The reduced oviposition and increased number of degenerated or dead eggs were associated with low protein synthesis detected in deficient hosts, which likely induced the observed decrease in transformation growth factor (TGF)-β1 and liver collagen. Despite the reduced number of mature eggs in UI mice, the activation of TGF-β1 and hepatic stellate cells occurred regardless of the unviability of most miracidia, due to stimulation by fibrogenic proteins and eggshell glycoproteins. However, changes in the repair mechanisms influenced by the nutritional status in deficient animals may account for the decreased liver collagen detected in the present study.