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Scand J Immunol. 2005 Jan;61(1):87-91.

Interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, IL-18 and IFN-gamma cytokines pattern in patients with combined hepatitis C virus and Schistosoma mansoni infections.

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  • 1Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Research Institute, Minufiya University, Sadat City, Egypt.


Schistosoma mansoni infection is characterized by a strong T-helper type 2 (Th2) cell-associated immune response, but in the case of viral infection, it is associated with interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) increase and induction of Th1 immune response. Few data are available about the immune response of cases infected with combined hepatitis C virus (HCV) and schistosomiasis. Thus, the investigation of the cytokine pattern in patients coinfected with both HCV and Schistosoma mansoni was our rationale. This study included four patient groups: Group 1 included 20 patients infected with chronic HCV, Group 2 included 15 patients infected with schistosomiasis alone, Group 3 included 20 patients with chronic HCV and schistosomiasis and Group 4 included 15 healthy control individuals with matched age and sex. Serum levels of IFN-gamma, interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10 and IL-18 were measured in all groups by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results showed that the patients infected with HCV had significantly higher serum levels of IFN-gamma and IL-18 compared with the controls and with the patients with schistosomiasis and coinfection (P < 0.001). On the other hand, serum levels of IL-4 and IL-10 were significantly higher in patients with schistosomiasis and coinfection compared with the control group (P < 0.001 and 0.0001, respectively) and with the HCV patients (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001, respectively). A significant increase in serum levels of IL-4 and IL-10 was also found in HCV patients compared with the control (P < 0.05). Schistosomiasis appears to induce a Th2 cytokine profile, with increase in serum levels of IL-4 and IL-10, even in the presence of HCV coinfection. In conclusion, schistosomiasis may downregulate the stimulatory effect of HCV on Th1 cytokines and this may lead to the chronicity of HCV infection in coinfected patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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