Antibody and cytokine responses in Dracunculus medinensis patients at distinct states of infection

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2008 Mar;102(3):277-83. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2007.12.003. Epub 2008 Feb 6.


Dracunculiasis is a promising candidate for eradication, but transmission of Dracunculus medinensis and recrudescence of the disease have been observed repeatedly. In the present investigation, the D. medinensis-specific cellular cytokine response profiles and the parasite-specific antibody subclass reactivity were evaluated in dracunculiasis patients at distinct states of infection. Analysis of the cellular cytokine response in dracunculiasis patients disclosed a D. medinensis antigen-specific depression of IFN-gamma production with patent D. medinensis infection, while the T helper type 2 cytokine IL-10 was similar in patent, post-patent and control individuals, and IL-5 production was always the highest in controls. In parallel, diminished IFN-gamma and IL-12 responses to antigens from Ascaris lumbricoides, Entamoeba histolytica and mycobacteria were observed in patent and post-patent dracunculiasis cases. The parasite-specific IgG(1) and IgG(4) subclass reactivity profiles corresponded with the D. medinensis infection state, and a clear distinction between patent and post-patent patients and controls was found. Overall a depressed cytokine release was observed with patent D. medinensis, which extended beyond the parasite-specific immune responsiveness. The detection of D. medinensis-specific IgG(1) and IgG(4) isotypes may help to distinguish newly exposed, patent and post-patent D. medinensis infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Helminth / analysis*
  • Antibodies, Helminth / blood
  • Child
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Dracunculiasis / epidemiology
  • Dracunculiasis / immunology*
  • Dracunculus Nematode / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Togo / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Helminth
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin G