Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 1428019
Immunol. Invest. 1992 Aug;21(5):423-53
The design of programs for the control of endemies requires the knowledge of the principal factors that determine parasite transmission and infection levels in exposed populations. In the studies summarized in this article, the role of environmental and host specific factors in the infection by S. mansoni have been evaluated. It is shown that a limited number of factors actually influences infection intensity: water contacts, age, and sex were shown to account for 20 to 25% of infection variance, while 35 to 40% of it was accounted for by the effect of a major codominant gene. A remarkable fact is the important weighting (around 55% of the variance) of factors (the major gene and age) that influence human capacities of resistance. This observation strongly supports control measures aimed at increasing human resistance, such as vaccination. The effect of age on the development of resistance has now been observed in several studies on S. mansoni or S. haematobium. It is, therefore, a constant finding in schistosomiasis infections that resistance develops extremely slowly requiring a long period of exposure to the parasite and repeated infections. These studies provide strong incentives to increase efforts in the evaluation of the immune response of subjects living in endemic areas. Such evaluations are necessary to define vaccine and vaccination programs, and they are also urgently needed to evaluate the effects of chemotherapy on the development of immunity in children and adolescents, as well as on the persistence of protective immunity in adults. Immunological studies begin to provide a clearer picture of the role of acquired immunity in human protection against S. mansoni. It is increasingly clear that the slow development of resistance in children, as well as its alteration in certain age groups, are related to the maturation of parasite specific immunity and its alteration by specific immune factors. Thus, the development of resistance is associated with the maturation of IgE-dependent immunity, whereas blocking Ab may interfere in children and adolescents with the expression of full resistance. This finding raises the question as to whether a vaccine could include major allergens without triggering the well-known deleterious side effects associated with hypersensitivity reactions. The absence of such reactions in subjects with high parasite-specific IgE levels who are exposed to daily infections suggests that this may be feasible.