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Infect Immun. 2010 Jul;78(7):3160-7. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01228-09. Epub 2010 Apr 19.

Chronic intestinal helminth infections are associated with immune hyporesponsiveness and induction of a regulatory network.

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1
Instituto de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Departamento de Biorregulação, Salvador, Brazil. cavfigueiredo@gmail.com

Abstract

Helminth infections have been associated with protection against allergy and autoimmune diseases. We investigated the effects of chronic infections with Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura (measured twice over a 5-year period) on cytokine and antibody responses. We collected blood from 1,060 children aged 4 to 11 years living in a poor urban area of Brazil and measured Th1 (gamma interferon [IFN-gamma]) and Th2 (interleukin-5 [IL-5] and IL-13) cytokines and the regulatory cytokine IL-10 in unstimulated and stimulated (with mitogen or A. lumbricoides antigens) cultures of peripheral blood leukocytes and levels of total IgE and anti-A. lumbricoides IgG4 and IgE in serum. Intestinal helminth infections were associated with an increased proportion of children producing IL-5 in response to A. lumbricoides and producing IL-10 spontaneously, especially among coinfected and chronically infected children. Helminth infections were associated with a generalized suppression of cytokine responses to mitogen. Levels of total IgE and anti-A. lumbricoides IgG4 and IgE were especially elevated in chronically infected children. In conclusion, intestinal helminth infections were associated with a typical Th2 immune response profile and with the induction of immune hyporesponsiveness that was associated with greater frequencies of the production of spontaneous IL-10.

PMID:
20404082
PMCID:
PMC2897394
DOI:
10.1128/IAI.01228-09
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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