Open Access Research article

Cytokine profile, proliferation and phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Akt in circulating mononuclear cells from individuals during the chronic intestinal phase of Schistosomiasis mansoni infection

Roberta Oliveira-Prado14, Iramaya Rodrigues Caldas2, Andréa Teixeira-Carvalho1, Marcus Vinicius Andrade3, Rafaelle Christine Gomes Fares1, Laís Maroni Portugal1, Andréa Gazzinelli46, Rodrigo Corrêa-Oliveira16 and José Renan Cunha-Melo5*

Author Affiliations

1 Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

2 Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Brasilia, DF, Brazil

3 Departamento de Clínica Médica, Cirurgia, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, MG, 30130-100, Brazil

4 Escola de Enfermagem, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

5 Departamento de Cirurgia, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Av. Alfredo Balena, 190, sala 295, 30130-100, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

6 Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia em Doenças Tropicais - INCT-DT, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:380  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-380

Published: 27 December 2012



The immune response to Schistosoma mansoni is characterized by a granulomatous reaction around the parasite eggs that are trapped in the host liver, and this reaction modulates the immune response during the chronic phase of the disease. The typical peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) response of patients during the chronic intestinal phase of infection is characterized by a decreased response to an S. mansoni soluble egg antigen. To obtain a greater understanding of Schistosoma infections, this study investigated the effects of the soluble egg antigen (SEA) and soluble adult worm antigen (SWAP) of S. mansoni on cellular proliferation, cytokine production, and ERK1/2 and Akt phosphorylation in PBMCs from infected (XTO) and egg-negative (NI) individuals living in the same endemic area.


The activation status was evaluated by cell immunophenotypic staining (cytometry). The cell proliferation assay was by CFSE method. Cytokine detection assay (Th1 and Th2) was by Cytometric Bead and Array phosphorylation status was by ELISA.


The XTO, NI and BD (blood donor) individuals from an area not endemic for schistosomiasis were compared. The CD4+ T lymphocyte proliferation rate was lower in the XTO group, but not the NI group, after SEA stimulation compared to the BD group. The CD8+ T cell proliferation rate was lower in the XTO group in the unstimulated cultures and after both SEA and SWAP stimulation compared to the BD group. Cytokine analysis after either SEA or SWAP stimulation showed a balanced cytokine pattern in the XTO and NI groups. ERK1/2 and Akt phosphorylation were only marginally detected in all groups; however, a decrease in ERK 1/2 phosphorylation was observed in the SWAP-stimulated XTO group compared to both the NI and BD groups.


The data indicate that SEA-stimulated CD4+ T cells from infected patients have a lower proliferation rate than the same cells from the NI group. Furthermore, we observed that SWAP stimulation influences ERK1/2 phosphorylation in the XTO group.

Schistosomiasis mansoni; PBMC; Th1 and Th2 cytokines; ERK1/2; Akt