Repository logo

Effect of praziquantel treatment of Schistosoma mansoni during pregnancy on immune responses to schistosome antigens among the offspring: Results of a randomised, placebo-controlled trial

Change log


Tweyongyere, R 
Mawa, PA 
Kihembo, M 
Jones, FM 
Webb, EL 


Abstract Background Offspring of women with schistosomiasis may exhibit immune responsiveness to schistosomes due to in utero sensitisation or trans-placental transfer of antibodies. Praziquantel treatment during pregnancy boosts maternal immune responses to schistosome antigens and reduces worm burden. Effects of praziquantel treatment during pregnancy on responses among offspring are unknown. Methods In a trial of anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy in Uganda (ISRCTN32849447;, offspring of women with Schistosoma mansoni were examined for cytokine and antibody responses to schistosome worm (SWA) and egg (SEA) antigen, in cord blood and at age one year. Relationships to maternal responses and pre-treatment infection intensities were examined, and responses were compared between the offspring of women who did, or did not receive praziquantel treatment during pregnancy. Results Of 388 S. mansoni-infected women studied, samples were obtained at age one year from 215 of their infants. Stool examination for S. mansoni eggs was negative for all infants. Cord and infant samples were characterised by very low cytokine production in response to schistosome antigens with the exception of cord IL-10 responses, which were substantial. Cord and infant cytokine responses showed no association with maternal responses. As expected, cord blood levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) G to SWA and SEA were high and correlated with maternal antibodies. However, by age one year IgG levels had waned and were hardly detectable. Praziquantel treatment during pregnancy showed no effect on cytokine responses or antibodies levels to SWA or SEA either in cord blood or at age one year, except for IgG1 to SWA, which was elevated in infants of treated mothers, reflecting maternal levels. There was some evidence that maternal infection intensity was positively associated with cord blood IL-5 and IL-13 responses to SWA, and IL-5 responses to SEA, and that this association was modified by treatment with praziquantel. Conclusions Despite strong effects on maternal infection intensity and maternal immune responses, praziquantel treatment of infected women during pregnancy had no effect on anti-schistosome immune responses among offspring by age one year. Whether the treatment will impact upon the offspring's responses on exposure to primary schistosome infection remains to be elucidated. Trial registration ISRCTN: ISRCTN32849447


RIGHTS : This article is licensed under the BioMed Central licence at which is similar to the 'Creative Commons Attribution Licence'. In brief you may : copy, distribute, and display the work; make derivative works; or make commercial use of the work - under the following conditions: the original author must be given credit; for any reuse or distribution, it must be made clear to others what the license terms of this work are.


3215 Reproductive Medicine, 32 Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Digestive Diseases, Vector-Borne Diseases, Infectious Diseases, Clinical Trials and Supportive Activities, Clinical Research, Pediatric, Infection, Inflammatory and immune system, Reproductive health and childbirth, 3 Good Health and Well Being, Animals, Antibodies, Protozoan, Antigens, Protozoan, Antiprotozoal Agents, Cytokines, Female, Humans, Immunity, Maternally-Acquired, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Leukocytes, Mononuclear, Placebos, Praziquantel, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic, Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosomiasis mansoni, Treatment Outcome, Uganda

Journal Title

BMC Infectious Diseases

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Springer Nature