Title

Immunology of Schistosomiasis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

4-27-2016

Journal

Encyclopedia of Immunobiology

Volume

4

DOI

10.1016/B978-0-12-374279-7.13015-2

Keywords

Bilharzia; Bilharziasis; Haematobium; Helminths; Immunomodulation; Japonicum; Mansoni; Parasites; Schistosoma; Schistosomiasis

Abstract

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved. Parasitic Schistosoma worms interact with their human hosts at every stage of infection. During skin penetration, the larval stage infective for humans, cercariae secrete proteins, which modulate host immune responses. Schistosomulae, the immature stage derived from cercariae, use additional proteins to alter the biology of specific leukocyte subsets. Egg antigens and glycolipids trigger formation of granulomas, chronic macrophage-based collections of leukocytes, during schistosomiasis. These granulomas serve to protect both the parasite and the host from catastrophic pathology that would harm both worm and host. Ultimately, schistosome egg granulomas can only form because of the secretion of cytokines, signaling molecules which guide leukocyte migration to sites of inflammation and their subsequent behavior. Schistosomes may react to human cytokines themselves, an aspect of their biology which deepens the connections between these parasites and their hosts. Interactions between leukocyte subsets highlight the theme of cross-regulation during schistosomiasis. Improving our understanding of this network of interplay may lead to better diagnostics, drugs, and a vaccine for this global scourge.

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