Immunoglobulin (Ig) isotype (IgG, IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, IgG4, IgM, IgD and IgE) levels were investigated, both pre- and post- treatment with praziquantel (PZQ), in 43 adults and children chronically infected with Schistosoma mansoni, by means of a two-site, isotype-specific immunoenzymometric assay. The patients were classified as responders (R) or non-responders (NR) on the basis of their circumoval precipitin test (COPT) results 12 months after treatment.
In comparison with controls, pre-treatment R children showed significantly higher levels of IgG, IgG1, IgG4 (p<0.001) and IgE (p<0.01), and diminished IgG2 (p<0.05), while NR children showed significantly elevated levels only of IgE (p<0.05). Twelve months after therapy, R children maintained significantly lower levels of IgG2, but showed significantly decreased levels of IgG, IgG1, IgG4, and IgE, while the Ig isotype profile of NR children was unaltered.
Adult R and NR showed similar isotype profiles before chemotherapy, with the exception of significantly elevated IgM levels in R. Twelve months after therapy, R adults showed significantly decreased levels of IgG, IgG1, and IgG4, while NR adults showed only diminshed IgG4 levels.
These results reveal different Ig isotype profiles in untreated adults and children chronically infected with S. mansoni. The results further show that the pre-treatment Ig isotype profile may be significantly modified after an effective R to chemotherapy, accounted for by down regulation of the IgG1 isotype in association with negative seroconversion of the COPT in R patients. The COPT reaction has been associated with the highly specific egg glycoprotein antigen w1, which shows a significant reduction in reactivity six months after treatment. IgG1 may thus play a main role in the response against the w1 antigen.