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J Infect Dis. 2002 Mar 1;185(5):665-72. Epub 2002 Feb 6.

Age- and infection intensity-dependent cytokine and antibody production in human trichuriasis: the importance of IgE.

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School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom.


The cytokine and antibody response to Trichuris trichiura infection was determined for 96 persons living in an area where the parasite is highly endemic and infection exhibits a convex age intensity profile. In response to stimulation with T. trichiura antigen, a small proportion of the study group produced interleukin (IL)-4 (7%), IL-9 (5%), and IL-13 (17%). A larger proportion produced IL-10 (97%), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha (93%), and interferon (IFN)-gamma (32%). The levels of TNF-alpha (P =.016) and IFN-gamma (P =.012) significantly increased with age, suggesting a switch to a more chronic infection phenotype. The predominant parasite-specific antibodies produced were IgG1, IgG4, IgA, and IgE. Unlike the IgG subclasses and IgA, parasite-specific IgE correlated negatively with infection intensity, as defined by egg output (P =.008), and positively with host age (P =.010). These findings suggest a mixed cytokine response in trichuriasis and an IgE-associated level of protection.

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