Role for CTLA-4 but not CD25+ T cells during Schistosoma mansoni infection of mice


: Dr Padraic Fallon, Institute of Molecular Medicine, St James's Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 8, Ireland (e-mail:


Schistosoma mansoni infection of mice increases the frequency of cells that are CD4+CD25+ in the acute (4 and 8 weeks) and chronic (16 week) stages of infection. Depletion of > 85% of CD25+ cells in the acute or chronic stages of schistosome infection caused no overt changes in morbidity or immunological responses. The absence of effect in mice with CD25+ cells depleted may be due to the preferential expression of IL-4 and IL-10, two cytokines that are protective in schistosome infection, on CD25 CD4+ cells. We also assessed infection-induced changes of other regulatory markers, GITR, CD103 and CTLA-4 on CD4+ cells. We identified a marked expansion of CTLA-4+ population on CD25 CD4+ cells in acute and chronic infection. Blocking of CTLA-4 during acute, but not chronic infection, caused significant weight loss and altered the type 2 cytokine response of mice, with increased IL-4 and IL-5 production associated with significantly more Th2 cells and eosinophils in the liver granuloma. This study illustrates the complexity of regulation of T cells in schistosome infection and highlights a specific role for CTLA-4+, but not CD25+ cells, in the regulation of Th2 responses in helminth infection.