Human IgE responses to rSm22.6 are associated with infection intensity rather than age per se, in a recently established focus of Schistomiasis mansoni

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In studies of schistosomasis mansoni-endemic communities, individuals with IgE responses to a 22 kD adult worm antigen (rSm22.6) suffered lower intensities of reinfection after treatment. It is of interest to define the factors that lead to the production of rSm22.6-specific IgE because it is a marker for resistant individuals and it may be involved in the development of resistance to reinfection. In endemic populations rSm22.6-specific IgE increases linearly with age. However, it is not possible to distinguish between age per se and 'history of infection' in endemic populations because individuals are exposed to the parasite at an early age. We have, therefore, quantified pre- and post-treatment isotype responses to rSm22.6 in a comparatively 'epidemic' Senegalese community where the patients were infected at different ages and where pre-treatment intensity of infection can be taken as a reasonable measure of antigen exposure. Post-treatment isotype responses to rSm22.6 correlated positively with pre-treatment intensities of infection but were not shown to be related to age. IgG1, IgG4 and IgE responses to rSm22.6 were significantly higher after treatment with the difference increasing with the pre-treatment level of infection. These results from a recently established focus of infection suggest that isotype responses to rSm22.6 are antigen-exposure dependent rather than dependent on age per se.

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