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This study investigated in utero priming as a consequence of maternal parasitic infections. Cord blood plasma samples of 63 African newborns were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for their content of total and schistosome-specific or filaria-specific IgE and IgG4. The frequencies of lymphocyte phenotypes in cord blood were also determined by using flow cytometry, and were compared with those of European newborns. We found significantly increased schistosome soluble egg antigen (SEA)-specific IgE in cord plasma of those born to mothers with schistosome infections and correlations between fetal and maternal SEA-specific and filaria antigen-specific IgE. These data are evidence for in utero priming of the fetal immune system to maternal helminth infections. Furthermore, we show significantly enhanced percentages of CD5- B cells in African newborns cord blood compared with Europeans, which is consistent with earlier maturation of the African fetal immune system.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 04/2012; 86(4):613-9. DOI:10.4269/ajtmh.2012.11-0463 · 2.74 Impact Factor