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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2006 Oct;75(4):720-6.

Pro-inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein are associated with undernutrition in the context of Schistosoma japonicum infection.

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  • 1Center for International Health Research (CIHR), Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University Medical School, Providence, RI 02903, USA. Hannah_Coutinho@brown.edu


Schistosomiasis is associated with undernutrition, but the mechanisms involved remain unknown. We analyzed baseline and follow-up data from a longitudinal treatment-reinfection study in N = 477 Schistosoma japonicum-infected subjects 7-20 years of age from Leyte, the Philippines. After baseline treatment with praziquantel, follow-up visits were scheduled every 3 months for 18 months; stool, venous blood, and anthropometric measurements were collected at each visit. Cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) stimulated with specific S. japonicum antigens was measured once 4 weeks after treatment. After adjustment for confounders, S. japonicum intensity was associated with decreased serum albumin and Z-scores (all P < 0.05) and with increased serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin (IL)-6. CRP was associated with decreased albumin and Z-scores (all P < 0.01). Production of IL-1b and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in response to worm antigen was associated with decreased albumin (both P < 0.005) and height-for-age Z-score (TNF-alpha only, P = 0.05). S. japonicum-associated undernutrition may, in part, result directly from inflammation.

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