Exp Parasitol 2013 Aug 14;134(4):447-54. Epub 2013 May 14.
Department of Parasitology, Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University, Changsha 410078, PR China.
The pathogenesis of chronic schistosomiasis is caused by irritation of the schistosome eggs trapped in liver that induce delayed hypersensitive reactions from the surrounding tissues, leading to the formation of inflammatory granuloma and subsequent fibrosis. A Schistosoma japonicum (S. japonicum) single-chain fragment variable (SjscFv) which specifically binds to the S. japonicum soluble immature egg antigen (SIEA) can be used as a target to deliver specific cytokine towards the site of hepatic fibrosis. To test this hypothesis, a novel recombinant plasmid, pVAX1/SjscFv-IL18, was constructed by fusing SjscFv to IL-18 gene with a 45bp glycine-rich linker. Furthermore, experiments on mice showed that pVAX1/SjscFv-IL18 could effectively express IL-18 in the liver and in serum. Hepatic contents of IL-2 and IFN-γ (Th1-type) in S. japonicum-infected mice vaccinated with pVAX1/SjscFv-IL18 increased significantly but those of their IL-4 and IL-10 (Th2-type) decreased as compared to the analyzed results of 4 cytokines in the liver cells of control mice vccinated with pVAX1/IL18. Consistent with the levels of Th1 and Th2 cytokines, mice vaccinated with pVAX1/SjscFv-IL18 developed much less hepatic fibrosis 20weeks after infection, which was evaluated by average volumn of granuloma and collagen contents. These data suggested that the linkage of IL-18 to the target-specific SjscFv molecule appears to be a potentially promising trial route of therapy, the hepatic fibrosis in S. japonicum-infected mice may be ameliorated through effective expression of IL18 in liver.