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Sci Rep. 2012;2:472. doi: 10.1038/srep00472. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

Proportions of CD4+ memory T cells are altered in individuals chronically infected with Schistosoma haematobium.

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Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, School of Biological Sciences, Ashworth Laboratories, King's Buildings, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.


Characterisation of protective helminth acquired immunity in humans or experimental models has focused on effector responses with little work conducted on memory responses. Here we show for the first time, that human helminth infection is associated with altered proportions of the CD4+ memory T cells, with an associated alteration of T(H)1 responses. The reduced CD4+ memory T cell proportions are associated with a significantly lower ratio of schistosome-specific IgE/IgG4 (marker for resistance to infection/re-infection) in uninfected older people. Helminth infection does not affect the CD8+ memory T cell pool. Furthermore, we show for the first time in a helminth infection that the CD4+ memory T cell proportions decline following curative anti-helminthic treatment despite increased CD4+ memory cell replication. Reduced accumulation of the CD4+ memory T cells in schistosome-infected people has implications for the development of natural or vaccine induced schistosome-specific protective immunity as well as for unrelated pathogens.

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