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More MS news articles for August 2003

Schistosomiasis decreases central nervous system inflammation and alters the progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Infect Immun. 2003 Sep;71(9):4996-5004
La Flamme AC, Ruddenklau K, Backstrom BT.
School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington. Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine, Wellington, New Zealand.

A pre-established infection with the parasitic helminth, Schistosoma mansoni, significantly reduced the incidence and delayed the onset of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in C57BL/6J mice immunized with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)(35-55) peptide.

The altered disease progression was not solely due to the induction of a strong Th2 response, since intraperitoneal injection of schistosome eggs did not affect disease development.

MOG-specific gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), nitric oxide, and tumor necrosis factor alpha production by splenocytes was significantly reduced in schistosome-infected mice compared to uninfected mice.

However, similar levels of interleukin-10 (IL-10) were produced in an antigen-specific manner, suggesting that the induction of antigen-specific responses was not inhibited.

Analysis of in vivo cytokine production by real-time PCR indicated that IL-12p40, but not IFN-gamma, transcript levels were dramatically reduced in the spinal cords of schistosome-infected, MOG-immunized mice.

Furthermore, analysis of the cellular composition of the spinal cords and brains revealed that a preestablished infection with S. mansoni decreased central nervous system (CNS) inflammation, particularly of macrophages and CD4 T cells.

These results suggest that schistosomiasis may negatively regulate the onset of EAE by downregulating the production of proinflammatory cytokines and altering CNS inflammation.