Schistosoma mansoni antigens modulate the activity of the innate immune response and prevent onset of type 1 diabetes



Infection with Schistosoma mansoni (S. mansoni) or exposure to eggs from this helminth inhibits the development of type 1 diabetes in NOD mice. In this study we show that soluble extracts of S. mansoni worm or egg completely prevent onset of type 1 diabetes in these mice but only if injection is started at 4 weeks of age. T cells from diabetes-protected mice make IL-10 in recall responses to parasite antigens. These cells are furthermore impaired in their ability to transfer diabetes to NOD-SCID recipients. Bone marrow dendritic cells derived from NOD mice are found to make more IL-10 and less IL-12 following culture with S. mansoni soluble egg antigens in conjunction with lipopolysaccharides. NOD mice are deficient in NKT cells. Soluble worm and egg antigens increase the numbers of Vα14i NKT cells in NOD mice. These effects of schistosome antigens on the innate immune system provide a mechanism for their ability to prevent type 1 diabetes in NOD mice.