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Life Sci. 2017 Sep 15;185:46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2017.07.021. Epub 2017 Jul 25.

Infection by Schistosoma mansoni during pregnancy: Effects on offspring immunity.

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Department of Pediatrics, Steele Children's Research Center, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, Tucson, AZ, USA. Electronic address:
Laboratory of Immunoparasitology, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.; Laboratory of Taxonomy, Biochemistry and Fungi Bioprospecting, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Electronic address:
Clinical and Toxicological Analysis Department, Pharmacy College, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Electronic address:


About 25 million Brazilians live in areas at risk of contracting the disease caused by the trematoda Schistosoma mansoni, the schistosomiasis mansoni. Although the adult parasites inhabit the blood vessels, probably the main element responsible for the pathology of the disease are the eggs, whose deposition in the liver results in formation of granulomas and hypersensitivity mediated by CD4 T cells. In the course of infection, the profile of T helper 1 (Th1) and Th2 cytokines released by immune cells is correlated with the extent of inflammation in the granuloma and with the disease severity. While a Th1 immune response favors the local inflammation and the disease progression, the Th2 immune response has protective character. Also during pregnancy, it is essential a fine adjustment of a Th1/Th2 in the maternal-fetal interface, which ensures the pregnancy progress with peculiar immune characteristics. In particular, the maternal exposure to antigens has been associated with their presence in fetal circulation. The exposure to intrauterine antigens can imply an immune tolerance of the fetus to such components. In turn, the transfer of antigens and antibodies from mother to offspring during breastfeeding is an important stage of maturation and capacitation of immune offspring in future infections against pathogens. This review aims to gather bibliographic data to assist in the understanding of immunological features printed on offspring of mothers infected with S. mansoni, which affect latter immune responses to related or unrelated antigens.


Immune response; Pregnancy; Schistosoma mansoni; Schistosomiasis

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