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Clin Exp Immunol. 2001 Apr;124(1):62-8.

Gender-dependent specific immune response during chronic human Schistosomiasis haematobia.

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INSERM Unité 167, Institut Pasteur de Lille, Lille, France, Programme ESPOIR, Région Médicale de St-Louis, Saint-Louis, Sénégal.


The cellular and humoral acquired immune responses to Schistosoma haematobium 28 kD gluthathione S-Transferase (Sh28GST) antigen were evaluated in a Senegalese population chronically infected with S. haematobium parasite. We show a gender-dependent immune response in adult individuals presenting similar intensities of infection. Indeed, the specific IgA response and production of TGF-beta and IL-10 were found significantly higher in females compared to males. In addition, we showed that this profile was combined with a weak production of Th1-related cytokines (TNFalpha and IFNgamma) and was associated with an absence of proliferation to the antigen. A significantly higher Nuclear Matrix Protein 41/7 secretion, an apoptosis marker, was specifically observed in mononuclear blood cell cultures of females suggesting that a specific cell death process was engaged in a gender-dependent manner. This specific profile could be associated with the so-called T helper type-3 (Th3) immune response specifically promoting the production of IgA and would be developed upon the down-regulation of the specific Type-1 response by a probable cell death mechanism. This gender-dependent immune regulation, which may be under the influence of nonimmunological factors like sexual hormones, may be related to the chronicity of the infection.

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