The Journal of infectious diseases

Posttreatment changes in cytokines induced by Schistosoma mansoni egg and worm antigens: dissociation of immunity- and morbidity-associated type 2 responses.

PMID 24357629


Human type 2 cytokine responsiveness to schistosome antigens increases after treatment; due either to removal of the immunosuppressive effects of active infection or immunological boosting by antigens released from dying parasites. We determined the responsiveness to Schistosoma mansoni over a 2-year period, when reinfection was restricted by interrupting transmission. The proinflammatory and type 2 responses of Kenyan schoolchildren were measured before, and 1 year and 2 years posttreatment in whole blood cultures stimulated with soluble egg antigen (SEA) or soluble worm antigen (SWA). The site of S. mansoni transmission was molluscicided throughout. Pretreatment proinflammatory responses to SEA were high but reduced 1 and 2 years posttreatment, whereas type 2 responses were low pretreatment and increased 1 and 2 years posttreatment. Type 2 responses to SWA were high pretreatment and increased at 1 year, with no further increases at 2 years posttreatment. Children infected at follow-up had lower SEA, but not SWA, posttreatment type 2 responsiveness. Increases at 1 year in type 2 SWA, but not SEA, responsiveness correlated with pretreatment egg counts. Removal of immunosuppressive effects of active infection increases SEA type 2 responsiveness; long-term SWA type 2 responsiveness is due to treatment-induced immunological boosting. Dissociation of type 2 responses potentially protects against severe egg-associated immunopathology during infection, while allowing worm-antigen derived immunity to develop.