Immune Responses During Human Schistosomiasis Mansoni

II. Occurrence of Eosinophil-Dependent Cytotoxic Antibodies in Relation to Intensity and Duration of Infection

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  • Department of Pathology, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Veterans Administration Hospital and Department of Microbiology, Vanderbilt University, Control Department, Ministry of Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, Kenya
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Plasma samples from St. Lucians were tested for the presence of antibodies which cooperate in vitro with normal human leukocytes in causing cytotoxic damage to schistosomula of Schistosoma mansoni. The in vitro antibody activity, which has been previously shown to depend on eosinophil effector cells was detected in 56% of the individuals with known, current S. mansoni infections and in 14% of control subjects from the same endemic area. Quantitatively, eosinophil dependent cytotoxic antibody (EDCA) activity, when expressed as the maximum amount of damage to schistosomula induced at high plasma concentration, correlated significantly with the intensity of S. mansoni infection as determined by fecal egg count, the highest levels of activity occurring in patients with stool counts of 60 eggs/ml or greater. In addition, plasma EDCA activity was found to correlate with the in vitro blastogenic responsiveness of patients' lymphocytes to three different parasite antigen preparations. In contrast, titrations of EDCA activity failed to reveal a relationship between EDCA titer and the most recent egg count performed on each subject. However, a significant correlation was observed when titers were compared to egg counts averaged over a 3-year period. Neither maximal EDCA activity nor titer was found to correlate with the duration of known schistosome infection.

Author Notes

Staff Member, The Rockefeller Foundation.

External Staff, British Medical Research Council; seconded to the Rockefeller Foundation.