Cytokine response profiles predict species-specific infection patterns in human GI nematodes

J. A. Jackson, J. D. Turner, L. Rentoul, H. Faulkner, J. M. Behnke, M. Hoyle, R. K. Grencis, K. J. Else, J. Kamgno, J. E. Bradley, M. Boussinesq

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41 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated associations between pre-treatment cytokine expression and infection patterns, before and after de-worming, in humans exposed to two gastrointestinal nematode species. Quantitative measures of Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura infection (based on faecal egg counts) were estimated immediately before and 8–9 months after treatment in a Cameroonian population. Whole blood cytokine responses to parasite-derived antigens were assayed immediately pre-treatment. An overall measure of the tendency towards species-specific infection (increasing with A. lumbricoides faecal egg counts and decreasing with T. trichiura faecal egg counts) was significantly positively related to IL-10 levels in older (14–57 year) hosts. There was a significant negative influence of IL-5 on reinfection probability in T. trichiura but not A. lumbricoides. This effect coincided with reduced reinfection success in T. trichiura compared to A. lumbricoides. TH2 cytokine expression by younger hosts (4–13 year) was negatively associated with contemporary A. lumbricoides faecal egg counts before treatment. Following treatment, the pre-treatment TH2 cytokine expression data for younger hosts (now reflecting responsiveness 8–9 months in the past) were negatively associated with T. trichiura faecal egg counts. Taken together, these observations suggest a successional interaction between TH2-driven immune responses and species infection over time. However, any differential effects of the measured immune responses on species-specific recruitment, maturation and mortality were superimposed upon (and outweighed by) the effects of other factors favouring coinfection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1237-1244
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Ascaris
  • Trichuris
  • Human
  • Cytokine
  • TH2
  • Immunoecology


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