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J Immunol. 1991 Feb 15;146(4):1322-7.

Egg deposition is the major stimulus for the production of Th2 cytokines in murine schistosomiasis mansoni.

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Immunology and Cell Biology Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


To characterize Th cell populations induced by helminth infection, spleen cells from mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni were stimulated with parasite (worm or egg Ag) or mitogen (Con A) and the supernatants assayed for the Th1-specific cytokines IFN-gamma and IL-2 and the Th2-specific cytokines IL-4 and IL-5. Th2 cytokine production was not detected in substantial quantity until the 6 to 8th wk of infection and after reaching peak levels at 8 to 12 wk declined slowly thereafter. The time courses of IL-4 and IL-5 production, whereas differing from each other, closely resembled corresponding published data on IgE and peripheral blood eosinophil levels during murine schistosome infection. In contrast, Th1 cytokine responses occurred only during the first 6 wk of infection and were virtually absent during the peak period of Th2 production. To assess the role of egg deposition in the observed pattern of Th response, cytokine production was assayed in mice carrying unisexual schistosome infections in which parasite eggs are absent. Splenocytes from these animals displayed only marginal Th2 cytokine synthesis but greater Th1 cytokine responses than the corresponding cells from mice with bisexual infections. Moreover, cultures of liver tissue or isolated granulomas from infected mice constitutively produced high levels of IL-4 and IL-5 but failed to synthesize significant amounts of IL-2 and IFN-gamma even when stimulated with egg Ag or mitogen. Taken together the data indicate that egg deposition is the major stimulus of Th2 cytokine response in S. mansoni-infected mice and suggest that T cells belonging to this subset must play a major role in egg granuloma formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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