Schistosoma mansoni-specific immune responses and allergy in Uganda

Parasite Immunol. 2018 Jan;40(1):e12506. doi: 10.1111/pim.12506. Epub 2017 Dec 15.


Low allergy-related disease (ARD) prevalence in low-income countries may be partly attributed to helminth infections. In the Schistosoma mansoni (Sm)-endemic Lake Victoria islands (Uganda), we recently observed positive helminth-allergy associations, despite low ARD prevalence. To understand how Sm-induced cytokine and antibody profiles might influence allergic response profiles in this population, we assessed Schistosoma worm (SWA)- and egg antigen (SEA)-specific Th1 (IFN-γ), Th2 (IL-5, IL-13) and regulatory (IL-10) cytokine profiles (n = 407), and total (n = 471), SWA-, SEA- and allergen (house dust mite [HDM] and cockroach)-specific (as)IgE and IgG4 profiles (n = 2117) by ELISA. Wheeze was inversely associated with SWA-specific IFN-γ (P < .001) and IL-10 (P = .058), and SEA-specific IL-5 (P = .004). Conversely, having a detectable asIgE response was positively associated with SWA-specific IL-5 (P = .006) and IL-10 (P < .001). Total, SWA-, SEA- and allergen-specific IgE and IgG4 responses were higher among Sm Kato-Katz positive (SmKK+) and skin prick test (SPT)+ individuals compared to SmKK- and SPT- individuals. However, total and asIgG4/IgE ratios were lower among SPT+ and wheezing individuals. We conclude that, in this population, helminth-induced antibody and cytokine responses may underlie individual positive helminth-atopy associations, while the overall IgG4-IgE balance may contribute to the low overall prevalence of clinical allergies in such settings.

Keywords: ELISA; Schistosoma spp; allergy; cytokine; immunoglobulin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Helminth / blood*
  • Antigens, Helminth / immunology*
  • Cockroaches / immunology
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Insect Proteins / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-13 / blood
  • Interleukin-5 / blood
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Pyroglyphidae / immunology
  • Schistosoma mansoni / immunology*
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / epidemiology
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Uganda / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Helminth
  • Antigens, Helminth
  • Cytokines
  • IFNG protein, human
  • IL10 protein, human
  • IL5 protein, human
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Insect Proteins
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-5
  • Interleukin-10
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Interferon-gamma