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J Immunol. 1998 Feb 15;160(4):1992-9.

High levels of TNF, soluble TNF receptors, soluble ICAM-1, and IFN-gamma, but low levels of IL-5, are associated with hepatosplenic disease in human schistosomiasis mansoni.

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  • 1Kenya Medical Research Institute, Division of Vector Borne Diseases, Nairobi.


In a case-control study based in two areas of Kenya, hepatosplenic schistosomiasis mansoni was shown to be linked with low levels of IL-5 and with correspondingly high IFN-gamma, TNF, and circulating soluble TNF receptor I (sTNFR-I), sTNFR-II, and sICAM-1. PBMC from the hepatosplenic cases responded to in vitro Ag stimulation with significantly higher levels of IFN-gamma and TNF, but lower levels of IL-5, compared with nonhepatosplenic controls matched for age and infection intensity. Most of these correlations were confounded by differences between geographical areas. However, principle component analysis identified a high IFN-gamma and TNF, and low IL-5 axis in the data as the first principle component; this was significantly associated with hepatosplenomegaly (p < 0.0005) even after controlling for area. High plasma levels of sTNFR-I (p < 0.001), sTNFR-II, (p < 0.0001), and sICAM-1 (p < 0.009) were also significantly associated with hepatosplenomegaly, independently of area, in the case of the soluble forms of both TNF receptors. These parameters were negatively related to IL-5. These results suggest that proinflammatory cytokines are involved in the hepatosplenic disease process in infected individuals who have low anti-inflammatory Th2 responses and that sTNFR may be a useful circulating marker for this disease process, perhaps reflecting the level of TNF activity in hepatic tissues.

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