Impaired Tetanus-Specific Cellular and Humoral Responses following Tetanus Vaccination in Human Onchocerciasis: A Possible Role for Interleukin-10

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Abstract

Onchocerca volvulus infection has been associated with impaired cellular responses to parasite antigens, an impairment that may also extend to nonparasite antigens. To investigate the mechanism of this impaired immune response, the effect of concurrent O. volvulus infection on the immune response to tetanus toxoid (TT) following tetanus vaccination was studied. The proliferative, cytokine, and antibody response to TT of O. volvulus-infected subjects (n = 19) and comparable noninfected controls (n = 20) were studied before and 6 months after vaccination with TT. Following vaccination, antibody levels, proliferative responses, and levels of interferon-γ were significantly greater in noninfected subjects (P < .05, .001, and .05, respectively); however, infected subjects produced interleukin-10, but noninfected controls did not (P < .001). These studies indicate that concurrent infection with O. volvulus can diminish the immune response to an unrelated antigen (TT) by a mechanism that is likely to involve interleukin-10.

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