Schistosomes carry lipid moieties that interact with the immune system. To understand the consequence of interactions in terms of polarizing the cytokine profiles, the effect of two Toll-like receptor-2 (TLR2) activating schistosomal lipid fractions was studied on whole blood from Gabonese children living in a schistosomiasis endemic area. One fraction contained lysophosphatidylserine [monoacylglycerophosphoserine (lysoGPSer)] plus diacylphosphatidylserine [diacylglycerophosphoserine (GPSer)] while the other contained lysoGPSer and only a trace of GPSer. The effect of these schistosomal lipid fractions was compared with the known bacterial TLR2 ligands PAM3CSK4and MALP-2. PAM3CSK4and MALP-2 had preferential IL-10-activating capacities, while the fraction containing lysoGPSer plus GPSer had a strong TNF-α-inducing capacity. The fraction containing lysoGPSer was neutral with respect to pro- vs. anti-inflammatory effects. When Th1 and Th2 cytokines were analysed, the schistosomal lipid fraction containing lysoGPSer plus GPSer showed a stronger Th2 response compared to PAM3CSK4, MALP-2 and lysoGPSer alone. Therefore, the study indicates that not only TLR2 ligands derived from bacteria or from parasites can generate distinct cytokine profiles but also that the composition of lipid entities reaching the immune system can be important in leading to different immune outcomes. This information may be important for exploitation of immune modulatory molecules.

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Parasite Immunology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Retra, K, van Riet, E, Adegnika, A.A, Everts, B, van Geest, S, Kremsner, P.G, … Yazdanbakhsh, M. (2008). Immunologic activity of schistosomal and bacterial TLR2 ligands in Gabonese children. Parasite Immunology, 30(1), 39–46. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3024.2007.01000.x