Anti-immunoglobulin E treatment decreases worm burden and egg production in Schistosoma mansoni-infected normal and interferon gamma knockout mice

J Exp Med. 1994 Jul 1;180(1):43-51. doi: 10.1084/jem.180.1.43.


The immunoglobulin E (IgE) response is generally considered an essential component of the host defense against parasitic helminths such as Schistosoma mansoni. In contrast, work on antischistosome vaccines suggests that interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) is the critical immune mediator for vaccine-induced immunity to the parasite. In this study, the total IgE response to a primary S. mansoni infection was suppressed by anti-IgE treatment in both normal mice and in mice with defective IFN genes (gene knockout [GKO]). Reduction of the IgE response resulted in decreased worm burden and a decrease in the number of eggs produced per worm in both normal and GKO mice. Whereas anti-IgE treatment also resulted in reduced hepatosplenomegaly, granulomas around existing schistosome eggs showed normal cellularity. Serum interleukin 4 levels fell in response to the reduction in serum IgE as well. The data suggest that IgE plays a detrimental, rather than beneficial, role for the host in schistosomiasis. Furthermore, the absence of IFN-gamma was found to be of little consequence to the host-response to adults or eggs in a primary schistosome infection.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / physiology*
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology*
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Ovum / immunology
  • Ovum / physiology
  • Schistosoma mansoni / isolation & purification
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / immunology*
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / parasitology


  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • anti-IgE antibodies
  • Interleukin-4
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Interferon-gamma