Open Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 38, Number 1, January-February 2007
Page(s) 25 - 36
Published online 01 November 2006
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2007) 25-36
Vet. Res. 38 (2007) 25-36
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2006042

Cytokine mRNA profiles in pigs exposed prenatally and postnatally to Schistosoma japonicum

Michala E. Techaua, b, Maria V. Johansena, Bent Aastedc, Peter Lindd, Niel Ornbjerga and Isabelle P. Oswalde

a  DBL - Institute for Health Research and Development, Jaegersborg Allé 1D, 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
b  Danish Centre for Experimental Parasitology, Dyrlaegevej 100, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
c  Department of Veterinary Microbiology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Stigboejlen 7, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
d  Department of Immunology and Biochemistry, Danish Veterinary Institute 27 Bülowsvej, 1790 Copenhagen V, Denmark
e  INRA, Laboratoire de Pharmacologie-Toxicologie, 180 Chemin de Tournefeuille, BP 3, 31931 Toulouse Cedex 9, France

(Received 30 January 2006; accepted 12 July 2006; published online 1 November 2006)

Abstract - The pig is a natural host for Schistosoma japonicum and a useful animal model of human infection. The aim of the present study was to assess the differences between the cytokine profiles in prenatally or postnatally S. japonicum exposed pigs. Seven prenatally exposed pigs, 7 postnatally exposed pigs and 4 uninfected control pigs were compared 27 weeks post exposure. Variables included worm burdens, tissue egg counts, liver pathology and mRNA levels of IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, TNF-$\alpha $, TGF-$\beta $1 and IFN-$\gamma $ in the liver and the caecum, assessed by RT-PCR. Infection intensity and level of septal fibrosis were significantly higher in the postnatal group compared to the prenatal group (P < 0.05). A significant increase of IL-4 (P < 0.01), IL-10 (P < 0.01), IL-12 (P < 0.01) and TNF-$\alpha $ (P < 0.05) mRNA level was also observed in the caecum of prenatally infected animals compared to the control group (P < 0.01). The prenatal group showed higher levels of TGF-$\beta $1 in the liver compared with the postnatally infected group (P< 0.05) and the control group (P< 0.01). This suppressive immune response correlated with previously reported low hepatic pathogenesis in prenatally exposed pigs.

Key words: swine / Schistosoma japonicum / cytokine / prenatal infection / postnatal infection

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2007