In murine models of Schistosoma mansoni infection, egg production is associated with a switch from T helper cell (Th)1- to Th2-type responses to both schistosome-specific and unrelated antigens. Polyparasitism is common in human populations within S. mansoni endemic areas. We have, therefore, examined whether coinfection with S. mansoni could affect the outcome of a second parasitic infection, through Th2 cytokine-dependent modifications to the host immune response. We find that when mice susceptible to infection with the gut nematode Trichuris muris are coinfected with S. mansoni, they acquire the capacity to resolve T. muris infection, thus demonstrating a resistant phenotype. This ability to expel T. muris is associated with the production of Th2-associated cytokines, and corresponding antibody isotypes, in response to S. mansoni egg antigens. The Th2 response shows that there is no compartmentalization between spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes, and that the expulsion of T. muris is not caused by any changes in the host intestine associated with excretion of schistosome eggs. This influence of schistosome infections may be important, not only for the outcome of infections with unrelated pathogens in endemic areas, but also for the efficacy of vaccines in such areas.

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