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J Immunol. 2006 Oct 15;177(8):5490-8.

Increased human IgE induced by killing Schistosoma mansoni in vivo is associated with pretreatment Th2 cytokine responsiveness to worm antigens.

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Division of Microbiology and Parasitology, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


In schistosomiasis endemic areas, children are very susceptible to postchemotherapy reinfection, whereas adults are relatively resistant. Different studies have reported that schistosome-specific IL-4 and IL-5 responses, or posttreatment worm-IgE levels, correlate with subsequent low reinfection. Chemotherapy kills i.v. worms providing an in vivo Ag challenge. We measured anti-worm (soluble worm Ag (SWA) and recombinant tegumental Ag (rSm22.6)) and anti-egg (soluble egg Ag) Ab levels in 177 Ugandans (aged 7-50) in a high Schistosoma mansoni transmission area, both before and 7 wk posttreatment, and analyzed these data in relation to whole blood in vitro cytokine responses at the same time points. Soluble egg Ag-Ig levels were unaffected by treatment but worm-IgG1 and -IgG4 increased, whereas worm-IgE increased in many but not all individuals. An increase in worm-IgE was mainly seen in >15-year-olds and, unlike in children, was inversely correlated to pretreatment infection intensities, suggesting this response was associated both with resistance to pretreatment infection, as well as posttreatment reinfection. The increases in SWA-IgE and rSm22.6-IgE positively correlated with pretreatment Th2 cytokines, but not IFN-gamma, induced by SWA. These relationships remained significant after allowing for the confounding effects of pretreatment infection intensity, age, and pretreatment IgE levels, indicating a link between SWA-specific Th2 cytokine responsiveness and subsequent increases in worm-IgE. An exceptionally strong relationship between IL-5 and posttreatment worm-IgE levels in < 15-year-olds suggested that the failure of younger children to respond to in vivo Ag stimulation with increased levels of IgE, is related to their lack of pretreatment SWA Th2 cytokine responsiveness.

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