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Infect Immun. Sep 1991; 59(9): 2934–2940.
PMCID: PMC258116

Dynamic analysis of splenic Th1 and Th2 lymphocyte functions in mice infected with Schistosoma japonicum.


Recent studies indicate that egg granuloma formation in murine Schistosoma mansoni infection is associated with Th2-mediated immune responses. The present study was designed to analyze dynamically the Th1 and Th2 responses in S. japonicum-infected animals and compare them with the results seen with S. mansoni. C3H mice were infected with 10 to 20 cercariae of S. japonicum and sacrificed 3 to 22 weeks later. Spleen cells were stimulated with parasite antigens (egg and adult worm) or the mitogen concanavalin A. Interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4, IL-5, and gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) levels were measured in the culture supernatants by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or bioassays. Additionally, cytokine-producing cells were enumerated by ELISPOT. The results show that Th2 cytokine production, characterized by IL-4 and IL-5, represents the major response in the first month after egg laying begins, while the Th1 functions of IFN-gamma and IL-2 production are greatly depressed. However, by 22 weeks Th2 responses have diminished and IFN-gamma production in response to concanavalin A is apparent. IL-2 responses are minimal at all times. In vitro depletion of T-cell subsets indicates that CD4+ cells are the major subset responsible for production of IL-5 at 7 weeks of infection. These findings suggest that, as in the case of S. mansoni infection, S. japonicum-induced immunopathology is temporally associated with the host Th2 response, although other experiments indicate that IFN-gamma is also involved.

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