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TGF beta and IL13 in schistosomiasis mansoni associated pulmonary arterial hypertension; a descriptive study with comparative groups

Rita de Cassia dos Santos Ferreira1*, Silvia Maria Lucena Montenegro2, Ana Lucia Coutinho Domingues3, Angela Pontes Bandeira4, Carlos Antonio da Mota Silveira4, Luiz Arthur Calheiros Leite5, Clara de Almeida Pereira6, Izolda Moura Fernandes3, Alessandra Brainer Mertens4 and Milena Oliveira Almeida4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Tropical Medicine, Health Sciences Center, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

2 Department of Immunology, Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães - Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Recife, Brazil

3 Departament of Clinical Medicine, Health Sciences Center, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

4 Reference Center of Pulmonary Hypertension, Pronto Socorro Cardiológico de Pernambuco, Universidade de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

5 Department of Biochemistry, Health Sciences Center, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

6 Biological Sciences Center, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:282  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-282

Published: 21 May 2014



It is suggested that interleukin (IL)-13 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta play a role in the pulmonary vascular changes found in animal models of schistosomiasis. The aim of this study was to assess and compare the serum levels of total TGF-beta and IL-13 of patients with schistosomiasis with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and patients with schistosomiasis without PAH.


34 patients from the schistosomiasis outpatient clinic of the Hospital das Clinicas, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, without PAH assessed by echocardiography and 34 patients from the Reference Centre of Pulmonary Hypertension of Pronto Socorro Cardiológico de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil with PAH, confirmed by right heart catheterization, were enrolled on the study. Both groups presented with schistosomal periportal fibrosis after abdominal ultrasound. Serum levels of TGF-beta1 and IL-13 were determined by ELISA. Student t test to independent samples, Mann-Whitney test to nonparametric variables, Pearson correlation test for correlation analyses and Fisher Chi-squared test to compare categorical analyses were used.


The median value of TGF-beta1 was significantly higher in patients with PAH (22496.9 pg/ml, interquartile range [IR] 15936.7 – 32087.8) than in patients without PAH (13629.9 pg/ml, IR: 10192.2- 22193.8) (p = 0.006). There was no difference in the median value of IL-13 in the group with Sch-PAH compared to patients without Sch-PAH (p > 0.05).


Our results suggest that TGF-beta possibly plays a role in the pathogenesis of schistosomiasis-associated PAH.

Schistosomiasis; Pulmonary hypertension; Transforming growth factor-beta; Interleukin 13