Factors Affecting High and Low Human IgE Responses to Schistosome Worm Antigens in an Area of Brazil Endemic for Schistosoma mansoni and Hookworm

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  • Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Centro de Pesquisas Rene Rachou, FIOCRUZ, Belo Horizonte, Cenbios-Univale-Universidade Vale do Rio Doce, Governador Valadares, Cambridge, United Kingdom
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We have previously examined the antibody isotype responses to schistosome worm and egg antigens in human populations living in areas of Kenya and the Philippines endemic for Schistosoma mansoni and S. japonicum, respectively. Here, we have analyzed antibody isotype responses to S. mansoni adult worm (AW) antigen and soluble egg antigen (SEA) in more than 500 Brazilian individuals, and found similar relationships with age and sex as in the Kenyan and Filipino populations. Isotype responses to AW antigen broadly increased with age whereas isotype responses to SEA decreased, and a higher proportion of males than females had detectable IgE against AW antigen. Most isotype responses to AW antigen and SEA correlated positively with intensity of infection with S. mansoni except AW antigen-specific IgG2, which correlated negatively. The overall prevalence of infection with S. mansoni in this area was relatively low at only 39.5%; hookworm prevalence was higher at 57.4%. The majority of those infected with S. mansoni were also infected with hookworm (76%). Those individuals with high IgE responses to AW antigen were matched for sex, age, and total IgG to AW antigen as closely as possible with individuals with low levels of AW antigen-specific IgE. The two groups were compared for factors potentially influential in IgE production. No difference was found between the high and low IgE responders for 1) intensity or prevalence of infection with S. mansoni, 2) relative exposure to S. mansoni, 3) number of previous treatments for schistosomiasis, or 4) prevalence of infection with hookworm, but differences were found in other isotype responses to S. mansoni. The high IgE responders had higher IgA and IgG4 against both AW antigen and SEA but lower IgG3 responses to AW antigen than the low IgE responders. The IgE responses to three S. mansoni antigens (paramyosin, Sm22.6, and a 12-kD AW antigen band) were detected in individuals with IgE against AW antigen only.