Human T cell leukemia virus type-I (HTLV-I) infection is associated with spontaneous T cell activation and uncontrolled lymphocyte proliferation. An exacerbated type-1 immune response with production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α) is significantly higher in patients with myelopathy associated to HTLV-I than in HTLV-I asymptomatic carriers. In contrast with HTLV-I, a chronic Schistosoma mansoni
infection is associated with a type-2 immune response with high levels of interleukin (IL-4, IL-5, and IL-10) and low levels of IFN-γ. In this study, clinical and immunological consequences of the HTLV-I and S. mansoni
infection were evaluated. The immune response in patients with schistosomiasis co-infected with HTLV-I showed low levels of IL-5 (p < 0.05) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells cultures stimulated with S. mansoni
antigen (SWAP) and decreased SWAP-specific IgE levels when compared with patients with only schistosomiasis (p < 0.05). Liver fibrosis was mild in all HTLV-I co-infected patients. Immunological response was also compared in individuals who had only HTLV-I infection with those who were co-infected with HTLV-I and helminths (S. mansoni
and Strongyloides stercoralis
). In patients HTLV-I positive co-infected with helminths the IFN-γ levels were lower than in individuals who had only HTLV-I. Moreover, there were fewer cells expressing IFN-γ and more cells expressing IL-10 in individuals co-infected with HTLV-I and helminths. These dates indicate that HTLV-I infection decrease type 2-response and IgE synthesis and are inversely associated with the development of liver fibrosis. Moreover, helminths may protect HTLV-I infected patients to produce large quantities of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IFN-γ.