Interleukin-10 and soil-transmitted helminth infections in Honduran children

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Background: Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) establish chronic infections in the human intestine. The host reacts to these infections with a dominant T-helper type 2 cell (Th2) response that while attempting to control the worm population, can also provide an anti-inflammatory environment favourable for parasite survival. Regulatory cytokine interleukin 10 (IL-10) has been proposed as a key molecule involved in the attenuation of chronic inflammation and the ensuing tolerance for these helminth parasites. The objective of this study was to determine whether STH-infected children from an endemic community had increased circulating IL-10 levels when compared to non-infected children. Results: A total of 39 children (25 boys and 14 girls, 7-15 years of age) were enrolled in study. Utilizing the Kato-Katz method to detect intestinal helminthiases, 10 children were non-infected and 29 were harbouring STH infections by Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and/or hookworms. Of the 29 infected children, 11 had single-species infections and 18 were polyparasitized with two or three STH species. Serum samples from all 39 children were tested for IL-10 serum concentrations, out of which 12 had undetectable levels while 27 had levels ranging from 0.4-105 pg/mL. Excluding extreme outlying values, 25 samples had IL-10 concentration values ranging from 0.4 -7.2 pg/mL. Differences in IL-10 levels among non-parasitized, monoparasitized, and polyparasitized groups were not statistically significant. However, children infected with any of the three STH species investigated had higher IL-10 levels than non-parasitized children (geometric means: 0.89 pg/mL vs. 0.74 pg/mL, p∈=∈0.428). Similarly, polyparasitized children had higher IL-10 levels than both monoparasitized and non-parasitized children (1.04 pg/mL, 0.69 pg/mL, and 0.74 pg/mL, respectively, p∈=∈0.481). A significant moderate negative correlation between IL-10 levels and children's age was found, but no correlations were observed between IL-10 levels and intensity of infection by any of the parasite species investigated. Conclusions: We found no strong evidence for an association between STH infection and serum IL-10 concentration levels. However, the trends identified here warrant further investigation. Additional research is needed to expand the current understanding of the immune response elicited by STH infections in children living in endemic communities.




Sanchez, A. L., Mahoney, D. L., & Gabrie, J. A. (2015). Interleukin-10 and soil-transmitted helminth infections in Honduran children. BMC Research Notes, 8(1).

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