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Int J Parasitol. 2007 Oct;37(12):1359-66. Epub 2007 Apr 12.

The 434(G>C) polymorphism within the coding sequence of Eosinophil Cationic Protein (ECP) correlates with the natural course of Schistosoma mansoni infection.

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  • 1Department of Medical Sciences, Clinical Chemistry, Uppsala University, Uppsala Academic Hospital, SE-75185 Uppsala, Sweden.


Schistosomiasis is a chronic parasitic infection with over 200 million people infected worldwide. In Schistosoma mansoni infections, parasite-derived eggs get trapped in the liver, causing the formation of granulomas, which may develop into periportal fibrosis and portal hypertension, and thus severe morbidity. Eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) is a secretory protein of eosinophil granulocytes that efficiently kills the larval stage of S. mansoni, but also affects fibroblast functions. We have investigated the prevalence of the ECP gene polymorphism 434(G>C) in two African populations, from an S. mansoni endemic area in Uganda (n=297) and from a non-endemic area in Sudan (n=78), and also compared these with a Swedish population (n=209). The genotype frequencies in the Ugandan population differed significantly from both the Sudanese and Swedish populations (P<0.001). In the Ugandan population there was a significant association between genotype and prevalence of infection (P=0.03), with lower prevalence in subjects with the GG genotype compared with GC (P=0.02) and CC (P=0.03). There was also a trend towards an association with periportal fibrosis (P=0.08) in the Ugandan population. This suggested association was confirmed when the predominant tribe (n=212) was analysed separately (P=0.004). Our results suggest that ECP may be an important protein, both in the immune response against S. mansoni and in the development of periportal fibrosis. The results also suggest genetic selection towards the ECP 434CC genotype in populations living in S. mansoni endemic areas.

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