Although schistosomiasis is effectively treated with Praziquantel, rapid reinfection with rebound morbidity precludes effective control based on chemotherapy alone and justifies current efforts to develop vaccines for these parasites. Using a longitudinal treatment-reinfection study design with 616 participants 7 to 30 years of age, we evaluated the relationship between cytokine responses to Schistosoma japonicum soluble adult worm extract (SWAP), Sj97, Sj22.6, and Sj67, measured 4 weeks after treatment with Praziquantel, and resistance to reinfection in a population from Leyte, The Philippines, where S. japonicum is endemic. S. japonicum transmission was high: 54.8% and 91.1% were reinfected within 6 and 18 months, respectively. A Th2 bias in the following cytokine ratios, interleukin-4 (IL-4)/IL-12, IL-5/IL-12, IL-13/IL-12, IL-4/gamma-IFN (IFN-γ), IL-5/IFN-γ, and IL-13/IFN-γ, in response to SWAP predicted a 1.4- to 2.9-month longer time to reinfection (P < 0.05) and a 27 to 55% lower intensity of reinfection (P < 0.05). Similarly, a Th2 bias in response to Sj97 predicted a 1.6- to 2.2-month longer time to reinfection (P < 0.05) and a 30 to 41% lower intensity of reinfection (P < 0.05). Only a high IL-5/IL-10 ratio in response to Sj22.6 predicted a 3.0-month-longer time to reinfection (P = 0.03). Cytokine responses to Sj67 were not associated with protection. In a large population-based treatment-reinfection study we found that Th2 responses to SWAP and Sj97 consistently predicted resistance to reinfection. These findings underscore Th2-type immune responses as central in human resistance to S. japonicum and support Sj97 as a leading vaccine candidate for this parasite.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases