[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Protective acquired immunity against helminths and allergic sensitisation are both characterised by high IgE antibody levels. Levels of IgE antibodies are naturally tightly regulated by several mechanisms including binding of the CD23 receptor. Following observations that helminth infections and allergic sensitisation may co-present, the current study aims to investigate the relationship between the soluble CD23 (sCD23) receptor, parasite-specific IgE responses and allergic sensitisation in people exposed to the helminth parasite Schistosoma haematobium. Methods: A cohort of 434 participants was recruited in two villages with different levels of S. haematobium infection in Zimbabwe. Serum levels of the 25-kDa fragment of sCD23 were related to levels of schistosome infection intensity, allergen (house dust mite, HDM) and schistosome-specific IgE, total IgE and skin sensitisation to HDM. Results: sCD23 levels rose significantly with schistosome infection intensity but declined significantly with schistosome-specific IgE levels. Furthermore, sCD23 levels were negatively associated with skin sensitisation and IgE reactivity against HDM, but showed no relationship with total IgE. Conclusion: The results are consistent with the suppression of parasite and allergen-specific IgE levels by sCD23. Further mechanistic studies will determine the relevance of this potential regulatory mechanism in the development of helminth-specific immune responses in atopic individuals.
International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 05/2013; 161(4):333-341. · 2.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human monocytes are commonly defined and discriminated by the extent of their cell surface expression of CD14 and CD16, with associated differences in function and phenotype related to the intensity of expression of these markers. With increasing interest into the function and behaviour of monocytes, it is important to have a clear understanding of how differing strategies of analysis can affect results and how different protocols and population backgrounds can affect this highly morphogenic cell type. Using PBMCs from populations with differing ethnicities and histories of parasite exposure we have characterised monocyte phenotype based on intensity of CD14 and CD16 expression. Using the surface markers HLA-DR, CCR2 and CX3CR1, we compared monocyte phenotype between populations and further assessed changes in monocytes with freezing and thawing of PBMCs. Our results reveal that there is a progression of surface marker expression based on intensity of CD14 or CD16 expression, stressing the importance of careful gating of monocyte subtypes. Freezing and thawing of the PBMCs has no effect generally on the monocytes, although it does lead to a decrease in CD16 and CX3CR1 expression. We show that there are differences in the monocyte populations based on ethnicity and history of exposure to the common parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Schistosoma haematobium. This study highlights that blood monocytes consist of a continuous population of cells, within which the dominant phenotype may vary dependent on the background of the study population. Comparing results from monocyte studies therefore needs to be done with great care, as ethnic background of donor population, gating strategy and processing of PBMCs may all have an effect on outcome of monocyte phenotype.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since the advent of techniques for the expression of recombinant peptide antigens, the availability of human vaccines for parasitic diseases has been 'imminent'. Yet vaccines based on recombinant proteins are still largely aspirations, not realities. It is now apparent that vaccine development needs additional knowledge about host protective immune response(s), antigen characteristics, and the delivery required to induce those responses. The most successful immune protection against parasites has been generated by infection and treatment, the induction of protective immunity by truncating the course of an infection with drug treatment. Here, we consider the characteristics of an effective, protective anti-parasite vaccine and propose a conceptual framework to aid parasite vaccine development using malaria and schistosomiasis as examples.
Trends in Parasitology 03/2013; 29(3):135-41. · 5.51 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Urogenital schistosomiasis, due to Schistosoma haematobium, is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Control is by targeted treatment with praziquantel but preschool age children are excluded from control programs. Immunological studies on the effect of treatment at this young age are scarce. In light of studies in older individuals showing that praziquantel alters antischistosome immune responses and responses to bystander antigens, this study aims to investigate how these responses would be affected by treatment at this young age. Antibody responses directed against schistosome antigens, Plasmodium falciparum crude and recombinant antigens, and the allergen house dust mite were measured in children aged 3 to 5 years before and 6 weeks after treatment. The change in serological recognition of schistosome proteins was also investigated. Treatment augmented antischistosome IgM and IgE responses. The increase in IgE responses directed against adult worm antigens was accompanied by enhanced antigen recognition by sera from the children. Antibody responses directed against Plasmodium antigens were not significantly affected by praziquantel treatment nor were levels of allergen specific responses. Overall, praziquantel treatment enhanced, quantitatively and qualitatively, the antiworm responses associated with protective immunity but did not alter Plasmodium-specific responses or allergen-specific responses which mediate pathology in allergic disease.
Journal of Tropical Medicine 01/2013; 2013:283619.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Currently there are few studies characterising the nature and aetiology of human schistosome-related inflammatory processes. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between Chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1), also known as YKL-40, a molecule associated with inflammatory processes, and schistosome infection, morbidity and systemic cytokine levels. METHODS: Serological levels of CHI3L1 and a panel of cytokines (IFN-y, IL-4/5/6/9/10/13 and 17) were measured in two Zimbabwean populations resident in a high and low schistosome infection area. CHI3L1 levels were related to schistosome infection, haematuria status and cytokine levels after allowing for confounding variables. The effect of antihelminthic treatment with praziquantel on CHI3L1 levels was determined in 246 participants 6 weeks post-treatment. RESULTS: CHI3L1 levels increased with age in both areas but were significantly higher in the high infection areas compared to the low infection area. CHI3L1 levels were also higher in infected compared to uninfected individuals with this difference being significant in the youngest age group. Curative antihelminthic treatment resulted in a significant decrease in CHI3L1 levels. Of the cytokines, only IL-10 and IL-17 had a significant association with CHI3L1 levels, and this association was negative. CONCLUSIONS: Serum CHI3L1 levels differ between infected and uninfected people before and after antihelminthic treatment. The greatest difference occurs in the youngest age group, in keeping with the period when schistosome-related pathological processes are initiated. Following from previous studies in non-infectious diseases showing that CHI3L1 is a biomarker for the inflammatory process, this study suggests that the potential for CHI3L1 as a biomarker for schistosome-related pathology should be explored further.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parasitic helminths have been shown to reduce inflammation in most experimental models of allergic disease, and this effect is mediated via cytokine responses. However, in humans, the effects of controlled helminth infection on cytokine responses during allergy have not been studied.
The aim was to investigate whether infection with the nematode parasite Trichuris suis alters systemic cytokine levels, cellular cytokine responses to parasite antigens and pollen allergens and/or the cytokine profile of allergic individuals.
In a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial (UMIN trial registry, Registration no. R000001298, Trial ID UMIN000001070, URL: http://www.umin.ac.jp/map/english), adults with grass pollen-induced allergic rhinitis received three weekly doses of 2500 Trichuris suis ova (n = 45) or placebo (n = 44) over 6 months. IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 and IL-13 were quantified via cytometric bead array in plasma. Cytokines, including active TGF-β, were also quantified in supernatants from peripheral blood mononuclear cells cultured with parasite antigens or pollen allergens before, during and after the grass pollen season for a sub-cohort of randomized participants (T. suis ova-treated, n = 12, Placebo-treated, n = 10).
Helminth infection induced a Th2-polarized cytokine response comprising elevated plasma IL-5 and parasite-specific IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13, and a global shift in the profile of systemic cytokine responses. Infection also elicited high levels of the regulatory cytokine IL-10 in response to T. suis antigens. Despite increased production of T. suis-specific cytokines in T. suis ova-treated participants, allergen-specific cytokine responses during the grass pollen season and the global profile of PBMC cytokine responses were not affected by T. suis ova treatment.
This study suggests that cytokines induced by Trichuris suis ova treatment do not alter allergic reactivity to pollen during the peak of allergic rhinitis symptoms.
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 10/2012; · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Urogenital schistosomiasis is caused by the helminth parasite Schistosoma haematobium. In high transmission areas, children acquire schistosome infection early in life with infection levels peaking in early childhood and subsequently declining in late childhood. This age-related infection profile is thought to result from the gradual development of protective acquired immunity. Age-related differences in schistosome-specific humoral and cellular responses have been reported from several field studies. However there has not yet been a systematic study of the age-related changes in human dendritic cells, the drivers of T cell polarisation.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained from a cohort of 61 Zimbabwean aged 5-45 years with a S. haematobium prevalence of 47.5%. Two subsets of dendritic cells, myeloid and plasmacytoid dentritic cells (mDCs and pDCs), were analyzed by flow cytometry.
In this population, schistosome infection levels peaked in the youngest age group (5-9 years), and declined in late childhood and adulthood (10+ years). The proportions of both mDCs and pDCs varied with age. However, for mDCs the age profile depended on host infection status. In the youngest age group infected people had enhanced proportions of mDCs as well as lower levels of HLA-DR on mDCs than un-infected people. In the older age groups (10-13 and 14-45 years) infected people had lower proportions of mDCs compared to un-infected individuals, but no infection status-related differences were observed in their levels of HLA-DR. Moreover mDC proportions correlated with levels of schistosome-specific IgG, which can be associated with protective immunity. In contrast proportions of pDCs varied with host age, but not with infection status.
Our results show that dendritic cell proportions and activation in a human population living in schistosome-endemic areas vary with host age reflecting differences in cumulative history of exposure to schistosome infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protective immunity against human schistosome infection develops slowly, for reasons that are not yet fully understood. For many decades, researchers have attempted to infer properties of the immune response from epidemiological studies, with mathematical models frequently being used to bridge the gap between immunological theory and population-level data on schistosome infection and immune responses. Here, building upon earlier model findings, stochastic individual-based models were used to identify model structures consistent with observed field patterns of Schistosoma haematobium infection and antibody responses, including their distributions in cross-sectional surveys, and the observed treatment-induced antibody switch. We found that the observed patterns of infection and antibody were most consistent with models in which a long-lived protective antibody response is stimulated by the death of adult S. haematobium worms and reduces worm fecundity. These findings are discussed with regard to current understanding of human immune responses to schistosome infection.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2012; 109(33):13347-52. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Schistosomiasis is a major human helminth infection endemic in developing countries. Urogenital schistosomiasis, caused by S. haematobium, is the most prevalent human schistosome disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently control of schistosome infection is by treatment of infected people with the anthelmintic drug praziquantel, but there are calls for continued efforts to develop a vaccine against the parasites. In order for successful vaccine development, it is necessary to understand the biology and molecular characteristics of the parasite. Ultimately, there is need to understand the nature and dynamics of the relationship between the parasite and the natural host. Thus, my studies have focused on molecular characterization of different parasite stages and integrating this information with quantitative approaches to investigate the nature and development of protective immunity against schistosomes in humans. Proteomics has proved a powerful tool in these studies allowing the proteins expressed by the parasite to be characterized at a molecular and immunological level. In this review, the application of proteomic approaches to understanding the human-schistosome relationship as well as testing specific hypotheses on the nature and development of schistosome-specific immune responses is discussed. The contribution of these approaches to informing schistosome vaccine development is highlighted.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Field studies show an association between schistosome infection and atopy, but the effects of anti-helminthic treatment on this association have not yet been investigated in human populations with different schistosome endemicity levels. This study aimed to compare the effects of anti-helminthic treatment on responses directed against the house dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Derp1) and Schistosoma haematobium in Zimbabwean populations living in high and low schistosome infection areas. Derp1- and schistosome-specific IgE and IgG4 antibodies were quantified by ELISA before and 6 weeks after anti-helminthic treatment. Following treatment, there were changes in the immune responses, which varied with place of residence. After allowing for the effects of sex, age and baseline infection intensity, there was no significant treatment effect on the change in anti-schistosome IgE and IgG4 in the high infection area. However, the anti-schistosome IgE/IgG4 ratio increased significantly, while anti-Derp1 IgE responses decreased as a result of treatment. In the low infection area, treatment resulted in a significant increase in anti-worm IgE levels, but there was no significant treatment effect on anti-schistosome or anti-Derp1 IgE/IgG4 ratios. Thus, the study shows that the level of schistosome endemicity affects the host responses to schistosome and mite antigens following anti-helminthic treatment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hygiene hypothesis suggests that parasitic infections protect against allergic diseases by modulating the host's immune responses. Experimental studies indicate that this protection depends on the intensity of parasitic infection, but this observation has not been tested in human populations. The aim of this study is to investigate whether the intensity of Schistosoma haematobium infection is related to atopic responses and whether this relationship differs between populations with distinct parasite transmission dynamics.
The study was conducted in two villages with different Schistosoma haematobium transmission dynamics, i.e. high (n = 365) and low (n = 307) transmission. Allergic reactivity to the common house dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) was measured by skin prick tests and allergen-specific IgE and IgG4 quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Atopic responses were related to current infection intensity and schistosome transmission levels.
Schistosome infection intensity was negatively associated with the skin prick reactivity, mite-specific IgE and the ratio IgE/IgG4 in the high-transmission village. However, when only low levels of infection were analyzed in the 2 villages, there was no correlation between mite-specific responses and infection intensity.
The relationship between schistosome infection and atopic responses is dependent on the intensity of current schistosome infection. Thus, consistent with results from animal models, with an increasing parasite burden, the immunoregulation of immune responses to allergens appears to become more pronounced.
International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 03/2012; 158(3):288-98. · 2.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To estimate population exposure of apes and Old World monkeys in Africa to enteroviruses (EVs), we conducted a seroepidemiologic study of serotype-specific neutralizing antibodies against 3 EV types. Detection of species A, B, and D EVs infecting wild chimpanzees demonstrates their potential widespread circulation in primates.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Certain parasites have evolved to evade the immune response and establish chronic infections that may persist for many years. T cell responses in these conditions become muted despite ongoing infection. Upregulation of surface receptors with inhibitory properties provides an immune cell-intrinsic mechanism that, under conditions of chronic infection, regulates immune responses and limits cellular activation and associated pathology. The negative regulator, CD200 receptor, and its ligand, CD200, have been shown to regulate macrophage activation and reduce pathology following infection. We show that CD4 T cells also increase expression of inhibitory CD200 receptors (CD200R) in response to chronic infection. CD200R was upregulated on murine effector T cells in response to infection with bacterial, Salmonella enterica, or helminth, Schistosoma mansoni, pathogens that respectively drive predominant Th1- or Th2-responses. In vitro chronic and prolonged stimuli were required for the sustained upregulation of CD200R, and its expression coincided with loss of multifunctional potential in T effector cells during infection. Importantly, we show an association between IL-4 production and CD200R expression on T effector cells from humans infected with Schistosoma haematobium that correlated effectively with egg burden and, thus infection intensity. Our results indicate a role of CD200R:CD200 in T cell responses to helminths which has diagnostic and prognostic relevance as a marker of infection for chronic schistosomiasis in mouse and man.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e35466. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Characterisation of protective helminth acquired immunity in humans or experimental models has focused on effector responses with little work conducted on memory responses. Here we show for the first time, that human helminth infection is associated with altered proportions of the CD4+ memory T cells, with an associated alteration of T(H)1 responses. The reduced CD4+ memory T cell proportions are associated with a significantly lower ratio of schistosome-specific IgE/IgG4 (marker for resistance to infection/re-infection) in uninfected older people. Helminth infection does not affect the CD8+ memory T cell pool. Furthermore, we show for the first time in a helminth infection that the CD4+ memory T cell proportions decline following curative anti-helminthic treatment despite increased CD4+ memory cell replication. Reduced accumulation of the CD4+ memory T cells in schistosome-infected people has implications for the development of natural or vaccine induced schistosome-specific protective immunity as well as for unrelated pathogens.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Micronutrients play an important role in the development of effective immune responses. This study characterised a populations exposed to schistosome infections in terms of the relationship between micronutrients and immune responses. Levels of retinol binding protein (RBP; vitamin A marker), vitamin D, ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), and C reactive protein (CRP) were related to levels of schistosome specific cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-4/5/10) in 40 Zimbabweans (7-54 years) exposed to Schistosoma haematobium infection. 67.2% of the participants were deficient in vitamin D. RBP levels were within normal ranges but declined with age. The two indicators of iron levels suggested that although levels of stored iron were within normal levels (normal ferritin levels), levels of functional iron (sTfR levels) were reduced in 28.6% of the population. Schistosome infection alone was not associated with levels of any of the micronutrients, but altered the relationship between parasite-specific IL-4 and IL-5 and levels of ferritin and sTfR.
Journal of Parasitology Research 01/2012; 2012:128628.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several field studies have reported an inverse relationship between the prevalence of helminth infections and that of allergic sensitisation/atopy. Recent studies show that immune responses induced by helminth parasites are, to an extent, comparable to allergic sensitisation. However, helminth products induce regulatory responses capable of inhibiting not only antiparasite immune responses, but also allergic sensitisation. The relative effects of this immunomodulation on the development of protective schistosome-specific responses in humans has yet to be demonstrated at population level, and the clinical significance of immunomodulation of allergic disease is still controversial. Nonetheless, similarities in immune responses against helminths and allergens pose interesting mechanistic and evolutionary questions. This paper examines the epidemiology, biology and immunology of allergic sensitisation/atopy, and schistosome infection in human populations.
Journal of Parasitology Research 01/2012; 2012:154743.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Schistosomiasis (commonly known as bilharzia or snail fever) is the second (to malaria) most important human parasitic disease in tropical and subtropical in regions. In Africa, Schistosoma haematobium, the causative agent of urogenital schistosomiasis, is the most prevalent species causing human disease and is responsible for most of the schistosome-related disease in the region. Diagnosis of morbidity in field settings mainly relies on the detection of hematuria (blood in the urine) and proteinuria (protein in the urine) which results from the passage of parasite eggs through the bladder wall. Ultrasound scans of the urinary tract are also used to detect morbidity but are less practical in the majority of field settings owing to the requirement of specialized equipment and trained personnel. Current diagnosis of infection relies on detecting excreted eggs and excreted or circulating parasite products. Diagnostic methods include microscopic examination of eggs in urine (currently considered the gold standard), microscopic examination of tissue biopsies, serological and reagent strip diagnosis of circulating parasite proteins detectable in blood and urine and, more recently, detection of parasite DNA in urine or vaginal lavage samples. All currently used diagnostic methods have limitations associated with them. In particular, the gold standard microscopic enumeration of eggs in urine is less sensitive in low infections and does not detect single sex or prepatent infections, which makes it particularly inaccurate in young children harboring light infections and in older individuals with chronic infections who both excrete low levels of eggs. The detection of parasite DNA in urine samples by PCR described in the article by Ibironke et al. improves on this limitation. This article reviews the method described by Ibironke et al., compares it with current methods and discusses its potential use in field settings.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Urogenital schistosomiasis is a tropical disease infecting more than 100 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Individuals in endemic areas endure repeated infections with long-lived schistosome worms, and also encounter larval and egg stages of the life cycle. Protective immunity against infection develops slowly with age. Distinctive age-related patterns of infection and specific antibody responses are seen in endemic areas, including an infection 'peak shift' and a switch in the antibody types produced. Deterministic models describing changing levels of infection and antibody with age in homogeneously exposed populations were developed to identify the key mechanisms underlying the antibody switch, and to test two theories for the slow development of protective immunity: that (i) exposure to dying (long-lived) worms, or (ii) experience of a threshold level of antigen, is necessary to stimulate protective antibody. Different model structures were explored, including alternative stages of the life cycle as the main antigenic source and the principal target of protective antibody, different worm survival distributions, antigen thresholds and immune cross-regulation. Models were identified which could reproduce patterns of infection and antibody consistent with field data. Models with dying worms as the main source of protective antigen could reproduce all of these patterns, but so could some models with other continually-encountered life stages acting as the principal antigen source. An antigen threshold enhanced the ability of the model to replicate these patterns, but was not essential for it to do so. Models including either non-exponential worm survival or cross-regulation were more likely to be able to reproduce field patterns, but neither of these was absolutely required. The combination of life cycle stage stimulating, and targeted by, antibody was found to be critical in determining whether models could successfully reproduce patterns in the data, and a number of combinations were excluded as being inconsistent with field data.