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Eur J Immunol. 1992 Jun;22(6):1483-94.

Immunity after treatment of human schistosomiasis: association between IgE antibodies to adult worm antigens and resistance to reinfection.

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Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, GB.


Previous studies in school children have demonstrated the slow development with age of resistance to reinfection after chemotherapy of Schistosoma mansoni infections, and have indicated that inappropriate ("blocking") antibody responses prevent the expression of immunity in young children. The present study was designed to investigate further the nature of the protective responses, by serological studies on a group of 151 S. mansoni-infected individuals resident in an endemic area in Machakos District, Kenya. Antibody levels against various antigens in blood samples before treatment were related to intensity of previous infections; antibodies in blood samples taken 6 months after treatment were related to cumulative reinfection rates over the following 30 months. IgE against an adult-worm antigen preparation correlated positively with age and negatively with reinfection. In contrast, IgE antibodies against other life-cycle stages showed either no relationship or the reverse correlation. Furthermore, antibodies of other isotypes against adult-worm antigens showed no correlations with reinfection. The correlation with IgE could be demonstrated for different preparations of adult worms, including a periodate-treated preparation presumptively depleted of carbohydrate epitopes. For both the intact and the periodate-treated preparations, multiple regression analysis of the results for children less than or equal to 16 years old demonstrated an IgE effect after allowing for age, although this effect was not observed in a previously studied group of school children. Western blot analysis of the adult-worm preparation revealed a limited set of antigens recognized by IgE, among which an antigen of 22 kDa was prominent. The qualitative presence of IgE against this antigen could also be shown to be related to a lack of subsequent reinfection.

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