Departamento de Bioquìmica-Imunologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Veterans Administration Medical Center and Department of Microbiology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Tennessee, Brazil
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMN) from individuals with active or former intestinal schistosomiasis mansoni or splenocytes from patients with the hepatosplenic form of the disease were evaluated for their ability to generate chemotactic factors for neutrophils in response to schistosomal antigenic preparations derived from adult worms (SWAP), eggs (SEA), or phytohemagglutinin (PHA). When supernatants from cultures of stimulated PBMN from normal donors were assayed, only those obtained from cells which had been cultured in presence of PHA displayed chemotactic activity for neutrophils. In contrast, supernatants from cultures of SWAP or SEA stimulated PBMN from patients with intestinal or hepatosplenic schistosomiasis were shown to contain chemotactic activity for neutrophils from normal individuals. PBMN from persons who previously had been infected with Schistosoma mansoni but had received chemotherapy years before presented a pattern of response to SWAP or SEA similar to those from patients with active infections. The response of splenocytes from patients with hepatosplenic schistosomiasis was considerably different from PBMN from individuals with active or with treated schistosomiasis. Splenocytes from most of those patients with hepatosplenic disease failed to produce chemotactic factors for neutrophils in response to stimulation with at least 1 of the schistosome antigens tested. These results indicate that the lymphocytes from schistosomiasis mansoni patients are able to recognize and are stimulated by adult worm and egg antigens to produce chemotactic substances for neutrophils, and that this ability persists for many years after chemotherapy with schistosomicidal drugs. At the hepatosplenic stage, immunoregulatory mechanisms, which may prevent the production of chemotactic factors by splenocytes and/or their activity upon neutrophils in vitro, seem to occur.