In vivo expression of cytokine mRNA in rats infected with Schistosoma mansoni

Parasite Immunol. 1998 Mar;20(3):135-42. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3024.1998.00135.x.


As an animal model, rat schistosomiasis mansoni has provided considerable knowledge of immune mechanisms involved in the expulsion of worms and in a subsequent development of immunity to reinfection. Although it is clear that ADCC mechanisms participate in immunity to reinfection; the nature of the cytokines involved in immunity is unknown. To analyse the pattern of cytokines involved, the mRNA levels of different cytokines were assessed by RT-PCR as they occur within tissues during the course of infection. In spleens from infected rats, a significant elevation in IL-2 and IL-5 mRNA was observed during the early phase of infection (day 7). Analysis of pulmonary cytokine responses showed a dramatic increase in IL-4 and IL-5 on day 7. This was accompanied with a low but significant increase in IL-2 (day 11) and IL-12 (day 7) in the absence of augmented IFN-gamma expression. The cytokine expression patterns of draining lymph nodes (LN) from infected rats showed a significant increase of IL-2, IL-4 and IL-5 on day 21. Analysis of IL-10 expression showed exclusively a significant increase in LN on day 11, IFN-gamma mRNA was not detected in any tissue sample. Thus, rats develop a predominately Th2-type cytokine response during a primary infection which may be involved at least in part, in the expression of immunity against Schistosoma mansoni infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics*
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukins / genetics*
  • Interleukins / metabolism
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / immunology*
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / parasitology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Interleukins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Interferon-gamma