An IL-12-based vaccination method for preventing fibrosis induced by schistosome infection

Nature. 1995 Aug 17;376(6541):594-6. doi: 10.1038/376594a0.


The harmful fibrosis which often occurs in the context of infectious disease involves the excessive deposition of connective tissue matrix, particularly collagen, and is mostly resistant to pharmacological and immunological intervention. In schistosomiasis, fibrosis is associated with the granulomatous response to parasite eggs trapped in the liver. We have previously shown that interleukin (IL)-12 administered peritoneally with eggs prevents subsequent pulmonary granuloma formation on intravenous challenge with eggs. Here we show that sensitization with eggs plus IL-12 partly inhibits granuloma formation and dramatically reduces the tissue fibrosis induced by natural infection with Schistosoma mansoni worms. These results are an example of a vaccine against parasites which acts by preventing pathology rather than infection. IL-12 is known to favour the priming of TH1 rather than Th2 cells, and the effects on fibrosis are accompanied by replacement of the Th2-dominated pattern of cytokine expression characteristic of S. mansoni infection with one dominated by Th1 cytokines. Elevated Th2 cytokine expression and fibrosis are common manifestations of a wide variety of infectious diseases and atopic disorders which might be ameliorated by vaccination with antigen and IL-12.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Granuloma / immunology
  • Granuloma / parasitology
  • Interleukin-12 / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / immunology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / parasitology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Ovum / immunology
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / complications
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / immunology
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / therapy*
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Vaccination


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-12
  • Collagen