Chemotherapy for Schistosomiasis in Ugandan Fishermen
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Chemotherapy for blood-dwelling schistosomes kills the worms and exposes parasite antigen to the circu lation. In many people from areas of endemicity, this treatment increases parasite-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) and other Th2 responses in the months following therapy, responses that have been associated with subsequent resistance to reinfection. Here we investigate much earlier changes in immune reactions after praziquantel therapy in Schistosoma mansoni-infected fishermen working in an area of high transmission in Uganda. The subjects gave blood before treatment and at 1 and 21 days posttreatment. Blood cultures were incubated with schistosome soluble worm antigen (SWA) or soluble egg antigen (SEA). Interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, gamma interferon, and transforming growth factor levels were measured in the cultures and in plasma. A marked transient increase in plasma IL-5 levels was observed in 75% of the subjects (n 48) by 1 day posttreatment. This response was dependent on pretreatment intensity of infection and was accom panied by a transient decrease in eosinophil numbers. One day posttreatment, blood cultures from the 16 subjects with the greatest increase in plasma IL-5 level (>100 pg/ml) displayed reduced IL-5, IL-13, and IL-10 responses to SWA, and in contrast to the rest of the cohort, these high-IL-5 subjects displayed reduced levels of SWA-specific IgE in plasma 21 days posttreatment. Twenty months after treatment, the intensity of reinfection was positively correlated with the increase in plasma IL-5 level seen 1 day posttreatment. These studies describe the heterogeneity in early immune reactions to treatment, identifying subgroups who have different patterns of reaction and who may have different capacities to mount the responses that have been associated with resistance to reinfection.