Schistosoma haematobium cercarial infection alters subsequent systemic immune responses to eggs but has minimal impact on immune responses to egg injection of the bladder

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Parasite Immunology








chemokine/receptor; cytokine; Schistosoma spp.; schistosomiasis


© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aims: Mouse bladder wall injection with Schistosoma haematobium eggs has been used to overcome limitations in animal models of urogenital schistosomiasis. However, the effect of the absence of cercarial infection on immune responses to eggs in this model is unknown. We hypothesized that cercarial infection would alter local bladder and systemic immune responses to eggs in this model. Methods and results: Mice were infected or not infected with S haematobium cercariae, and then, their bladder walls injected with S haematobium eggs or vehicle 5 weeks following cercarial infection. Three weeks later, mice were bled, sacrificed, perfused and their bladders harvested. Parasitological parameters and gross bladder pathology were not changed in egg-injected bladders by cercarial exposure. Figure S1 shows no changes in either granulomas or fibrosis. The only bladder cytokine upregulated in egg-injected bladders by cercarial exposure (vs no exposure) was leptin. Cercarial exposure, compared to no exposure, resulted in increased serum, IL-1α, IL-13 and TGF-β in bladder egg-injected mice. Conclusion: Cercarial exposure altered systemic responses of several cytokines in bladder egg-injected mice, but surprisingly, only modified leptin expression in bladder tissue. This suggests that depending on the specific application, cercarial exposure may not be strictly necessary to model local immune responses in the bladder wall egg injection mouse model of urogenital schistosomiasis.

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