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During murine schistosomiasis, there is a gradual switch from a predominant Th1 cytokine response to a Th2-dominated response after egg laying, an event that favors the formation of granuloma around viable eggs. Egg-derived glycoconjugates, including glycolipids, may play a crucial role in this phenomenon. In this study, we used a model of dendritic cell sensitization to study the role of egg glycoconjugates in the induction of specific immune response to soluble egg Ag (SEA) and to investigate the possibility that CD1d, a molecule implicated in glycolipid presentation, may be involved in such a phenomenon. We show that, when captured, processed, and presented to naive T lymphocytes by dendritic cells, egg, but not larval, Ag skew the immune response toward a Th2 response. Periodate treatment reversed this effect, indicating that the sugar moiety of SEA is important in this phenomenon. Using DC treated ex vivo with a neutralizing anti-CD1d Ab or isolated from CD1d knockout mice, we show that CD1d is crucial in the priming of SEA-specific Th2 lymphocytes. We then evaluated the contribution of CD1d on the development of the SEA-specific immune response and on the formation of the egg-induced liver granuloma during murine schistosomiasis. We find that CD1d knockout mice have a reduced Th2 response after egg laying and develop a less marked fibrotic pathology compared with wild-type mice. Altogether, our results suggest that Ag presentation of parasite glycoconjugates to CD1d-restricted T cells may be important in the early events leading to the induction of Th2 responses and to egg-induced pathology during murine schistosomiasis.
Conflicting interpretations regarding the fecundity of schistosomes infecting human beings have arisen and are, in part, due to the inability to directly measure the parameters. The inability to experimentally manipulate human beings necessitates the use of surrogate variables, i.e., number of eggs per gram of feces, as an indicator of worm burden. This study reanalyzes data from quantitative autopsies performed in Egypt by Cheever and colleagues on individuals with active Schistosoma mansoni infections. Exploratory regression analysis of the relationship of female worms recovered to eggs/g of feces and of female worms to eggs retained in host tissues suggests a linear relationship in both cases. Over the observed range of female worms recovered from an individual human being, the estimated worm fecundity, as measured by the number of eggs either in feces or retained in tissues per female worm, is not significantly different from a constant value. Hence, density-dependent fecundity of S. mansoni in the human host, as suggested by others, is not demonstrated in these data.
We have developed a method for using short (30-42 base pair) synthetic oligonucleotide DNA probes in Northern blot assays. The method involves labeling the probes to high specific activity, very stringent hybridization and wash conditions, and the presence of several inhibitors of nonspecific binding in the hybridization buffer. We have tested this method with several probes obtained from local and commercial sources. The results with every probe used were high signal-to-noise ratios in an exposure time range of 30 min to 7 days.