Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 1, pp 115–126 | Cite as

Immune modulation of Th1, Th2, and T-reg transcriptional factors differing from cytokine levels in Schistosoma japonicum infection

  • Amel Farwa
  • Chao He
  • Longfei Xia
  • Hong ZhouEmail author
Original Paper


In spite of long-term integrated control programs for Schistosoma japonicum infection in China, the infection is still persistent due to its zoonotic transmission and disease severity which further complicate its control. Th1, Th2, and T-reg cells are involved in S. japonicum immunity; however, their exact roles in immunopathology of this infection are still questionable. Therefore, the monitoring of these T cell subsets’ immune responses during a primary infection of S. japonicum at both transcriptional (mRNA) and protein (cytokines) levels would be essential to point out. In experimentally infected white New Zealand rabbits, mRNA expression levels of TBX2, IRF8, GATA3, STAT6, FoxP3, and MAFF were evaluated using qPCR, whereas Th1 (IFN-γ and TNF-α), Th2 (IL4 and IL13), and T-reg (IL10 and TGF-β1) cytokines were measured by ELISA test. Those parameters were estimated at two phases: the first being 4 and 8 weeks post-infection and the second phase at 12 weeks post-infection. The infected rabbits were categorized into group1 which was treated with praziquantel after the 8th week of infection and group 2 which was left untreated. In the first stage of infection, Th1 was superior to the other types at both mRNA (TBX2 and IRF8) and protein (IFN-γ and TNF-α) levels, but at the late stage, Th2 cytokines (IL4 and IL13) were surprisingly dominated without comparable change in Th2 transcriptional level in group 1. Concisely, the evaluation of T cell transcriptional factors provided clearer evidence about T cellular roles which would be a valuable supplement to control this disease in terms of protective and therapeutic vaccinations.


S. japonicum Transcriptional factors FoxP3 IL4 



All experimental rabbits were provided by the Laboratory Animal Research Center of Jiangsu University. A great thanks to Yun Nan Center for Disease Control and Prevention which provided S. japonicum cercaria Chinese strains and the Zhenjiang Center for Disease Prevention and Control for supplementation of therapeutic praziquantel.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81370614) to Hong Zhou.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethics approval

All experimental rabbits in the Laboratory Animal Research Center of Jiangsu University were harbored, fed, and monitored during the whole period of the experiment according to Chinese animal protection laws. Blood sample collection and scarification procedures were performed under the supervision of a lab animal assistant in the center. Additionally, all applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Laboratory and Hematology, School of MedicineJiangsu UniversityZhenjiangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Parasitology & Medical Entomology, Faculty of Medical Laboratory SciencesUniversity of KhartoumKhartoumSudan

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