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J Infect Dis. 2006 Dec 1;194(11):1609-16. Epub 2006 Oct 23.

The common gamma chain cytokines interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-7 indirectly modulate blood fluke development via effects on CD4+ T cells.

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Tropical Disease Research Unit, Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.


The human pathogen Schistosoma mansoni exhibits a highly evolved and intricate relationship with its host, evading immune destruction while co-opting CD4(+) T cell-driven mechanisms to facilitate parasite development and egg excretion. Because the common gamma ( gamma (c)) chain cytokine interleukin (IL)-7 is also implicated in modulating schistosome development, we investigated whether this effect is mediated indirectly through the essential role that IL-7 plays in CD4(+) T cell growth and survival. We demonstrate that attenuated schistosome development in the absence of IL-7 results from dysregulated T cell homeostasis and not from disruption of direct interactions between schistosomes and IL-7. We also identify an indirect role that another gamma (c) chain cytokine plays in schistosome development, demonstrating that IL-2 expression by CD4(+) T cells is essential for normal parasite development. Thus, cytokines critical for CD4(+) T cell survival and function can mediate indirect but potent effects on developing schistosomes and underscore the importance of CD4(+) T cells in facilitating schistosome development.

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