Integrated Analysis of Innate, Th1, Th2, Th17, and Regulatory Cytokines Identifies Changes in Immune Polarisation Following Treatment of Human Schistosomiasis


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Abstract

Background. Schistosomiasis elicits cross-regulatory immune responses, but it is unclear how antihelminthic treatment affects this balance. This study integrates data on 13 cytokines elicited by 3 schistosome to examine how praziquantel treatment alters immune polarization and whether post-treatment cytokine profiles influence reinfection status.Methods. Venous blood from 72 Schistosoma haematobium–exposed participants was cultured with schistosome egg, adult worm, and cercaria antigens pre– and 6 weeks post–praziquantel treatment. Innate inflammatory (tumor necrosis factor α [TNF-α], interleukin(IL-)-6, IL-8), Th1 (interferon γ [IFN-γ], IL-2, IL-12p70), Th2 (IL-4, IL-5, IL-13), Th17 (IL-17A, IL-21, IL-23p19), and regulatory (IL-10) cytokines were quantified via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Cytokine data was integrated using nonmetric multidimensional scaling and factor analysis.Results. Egg-specific cytokine phenotypes became more proinflammatory post-treatment due to increased TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8, IFN-γ, IL-12p70, and IL-23 levels. Post-treatment cercariae-specific responses were also more proinflammatory reflecting elevated IL-8. In contrast, post-treatment adult worm-specific responses were less inflammatory, reflecting lower post-treatment IL-6. A combination of egg-induced IL-6, IL-12p70, IL-21, and IL-23 and adult worm-induced IL-5 and IL-21 post-treatment was associated with reduced reinfection risk 18 months later.Conclusions. Praziquantel treatment markedly alters polarization of schistosome-specific cytokine responses, and these changes, particularly in response to egg-stage parasites, may promote resistance to reinfection.

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