Gross and Histological Studies of Immediate, Arthus, and Delayed Skin Test Responses to Schistosome Antigen, and of Delayed Responses to Ubiquitous Antigens in Egyptians

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  • Department of Endemic Medicine, Cairo University, Departments of Parasitology and Pathology, Ain Shams University, Theodor Bilharz Institute, Cancer Research Institute, Parasitology and Pathology Divisions, Center for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cairo, Egypt

Gross studies of skin reactions to adult antigen of Schistosoma mansoni were made on 156 hospitalized patients with schistosomiasis and 114 subjects from the nonendemic area of Hurghada in Egypt. Wheal areas equal to or greater than 1.0 cm2 indicated a positive immediate (15-min) reaction to adult worm antigen; the criterion of positivity for both 24-hour and 48-hour delayed reactions was an area of induration equal to or greater than 0.6 cm2. Immediate reactions with adult worm antigen were observed in 99% of the patients with schistosomiasis and 11% of the subjects from Hurghada: the percentages with delayed reaction were 58% and 2%, respectively. Biopsies of skin test sites at various intervals after antigen injection were done on 87 individuals. Eosinophilic and mononuclear infiltrates were characteristic of immediate and delayed skin responses, respectively. Biopsies from 22 patients with marked skin reactions 5 hours after antigen injection showed that a neutrophilic response indicative of Arthus reactivity was present in only 18. Thus, Arthus reactivity could not be determined on gross appearance alone. The studies did not show any evidence of delayed basophilic hypersensitivity to schistosome antigen. Immunofluorescent studies on a small number of biopsies suggested that a late phase (5-hour) reaction due to IgE may occur in some patients. Delayed reactivity to mumps and/or monilia skin test antigens was observed in 91% of Egyptians in a nonendemic area for schistosomiasis. Delayed hypersensitivity to PPD was detected in 44% of the same group.