The pathogenesis of Schistosoma mansoni
infection is largely determined by host T-cell mediated immune responses such as the granulomatous response to tissue deposited eggs and subsequent fibrosis. The major egg antigens have a valuable role in desensitizing the CD4+
Th cells that mediate granuloma formation, which may prevent or ameliorate clinical signs of schistosomiasis. S. mansoni
major egg antigen Smp40 was expressed and completely purified. It was found that the expressed Smp40 reacts specifically with anti-Smp40 monoclonal antibody in Western blotting. Three-dimensional structure was elucidated based on the similarity of Smp40 with the small heat shock protein coded in the protein database as 1SHS as a template in the molecular modeling. It was figured out that the C-terminal of the Smp40 protein (residues 130 onward) contains two alpha crystallin domains. The fold consists of eight beta strands sandwiched in two sheets forming Greek key. The purified Smp40 was used for in vitro stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients infected with S. mansoni
using phytohemagglutinin mitogen as a positive control. The obtained results showed that there is no statistical difference in interferon-g, interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 levels obtained with Smp40 stimulation compared with the control group (P > 0.05 for each). On the other hand, there were significant differences after Smp40 stimulation in IL-5 (P = 0.006) and IL-10 levels (P < 0.001) compared with the control group. Gaining the knowledge by reviewing the literature, it was found that the overall pattern of cytokine profile obtained with Smp40 stimulation is reported to be associated with reduced collagen deposition, decreased fibrosis, and granuloma formation inhibition. This may reflect its future prospect as a leading anti-pathology schistosomal vaccine candidate.