A new function for platelets: IgE-dependent killing of schistosomes

Nature. 1983 Jun 30;303(5920):810-2. doi: 10.1038/303810a0.


Several killing mechanisms against schistosomes have been described in vitro, involving cellular and humoral factors. Neutrophils, eosinophils--with an accessory role for mast cells--monocytes and macrophages have been shown to exhibit cytotoxic properties against Schistosoma mansoni larvae, in association with antibodies of various isotypes or with complement (reviewed in ref. 1). Lymphocyte participation in effector functions is mediated mainly through lymphokines inducing cytotoxic macrophages, and, in certain cases, directly by T cells. The experiments reported here show that platelets, taken from rats after specific periods of infection with S. mansoni, were able to kill schistosomula, and that normal human or rat platelets acquired toxic properties towards the same target in the presence of serum from infected individuals. The humoral factor involved in this process was shown to be IgE, and evidence was obtained of a Fc receptor for IgE on human and rat platelets. The passive transfer of immune platelets to normal rats conferred a high degree of protection towards a challenge infection by the parasite.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / immunology*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Rats
  • Schistosoma mansoni / immunology*


  • Immunoglobulin E