HTLV-1 modifies the clinical and immunological response to schistosomiasis

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SUMMARYThe immunological response in HTLV-1 infected individuals is characterized by a prominent Type-1 cytokine response with high production of IFN-γ and TNF-α. In contrast, helminthic infections and in particular chronic schistosomiasis are associated with a predominant production of IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 and IL-13. Liver fibrosis is the main pathological finding in schistosomiasis that occurs after many years of infection. This pathology is T cell dependent but the immune response mechanisms are not completely understood. The North-east region of Brazil is endemic for both HTLV-1 and schistosomiasis. In the present study the immune response, clinical severity, and therapeutic response to praziquantel of patients with schistosomiasis coinfected with HTLV-1 were compared with patients infected only with S. mansoni. Patients with HTLV-1 and S. mansoni had lower levels of IL-5 (P < 0·05) and higher levels of IFN-γ (P < 0·05) in cultures stimulated with S. mansoni antigen and decreased S. mansoni antigen specific IgE levels when compared with patients with schistosomiasis without HTLV-1 coinfection. Liver fibrosis was mild in all HTLV-1 coinfected patients and efficacy of praziquantel was lower in patients dually infected than in patients infected only with S. mansoni.

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