Schistosomiasis, the second major parasitic disease in the world after malaria affects at least 200 million people, 500 million being exposed to the risk of infection. It is widely agreed that a vaccine strategy wich could lead to the induction of effector mechanisms reducing the level of reinfection and ideally parasite fecundity would deeply affect the incidence of pathological manifestations as well as the parasite transmission potentialities. Extensive studies performed in the rat model have allowed the identification of novel effector mechanisms involving IgE antibodies and various inflammatory cell populations (eosinophils, macrophages and platelets) whereas regulation of immune response by blocking antibodies has been evidencial. Recent epidemiological studies have now entirely confirmed in human populations the the role of IgE antibodies in the acquisition of resistance and the association of IgG4 blocking antibodies with increased susceptibility. On the basis of these concepts, several schistosome glutathion S-transferase (Sm 28 GST) appears as a pronising vaccine candidate. Immunization experiments have shown that two complementary goals can be achieved: (a) a partial but significant reduction of the worm population (up to 60//in rats); (b) a significant reduction of parasite fecundity (up in the mice and 85//in cattle) and egg viability (up to 80//). At least two distinct immunological mechanisms account for these two effects. IgE antibodies appear as a major humoral component of acquired resistance whereas IgA antibodies appear as a major humoral factor affecting parasite fecundity. These studies seem to represent a parasite diseases through the identification of potentially protective antigens and of the components of the immune response which vaccination should aim at inducing.
In this review the authors analyze the effector and regulatory mechanisms in the immune response to schistosomiasis. To study these mechanisms two animal models were used, mouse and rat. The mouse totaly permissive host like human, show prominent-T cell control in the acquisition of resistance. But other mechanisms like antibody mediated cytotoxity (ADCC) involving eosinophils and IgG antibodies described in humans, are observed in rats. Also in this animal, it is observed specific IgE antibody high production and blood and tisssue eosinophilia. Using the rat model and schistosomula as target, some ADCC features have emerged: the cellular population involved are bone marrow derived inflammatory cell (mononuclear phagocytes, eosinophils and platelets), interacting with IgE through IgE Fc receptors. Immunization has been attempted using the recombinant protein Sm28/GST. Protection has been observed in rodents with significant decrease of parasite fecundity and egg viability affecting the number, size and volume of liver egg granulomas. The association of praziquantel and immunization with with Sm28/GST increases the resistance to infection and decreases egg viability. The authors suggest the possibility of the stablishment of a future vaccine against Schistosoma mansoni.