Schistosomes are intravascular platyhelminth parasites that are exposed in the blood stream to host immunological effectors. Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) can act in vitro to kill the parasites, and this has been proposed as one important mechanism of antiworm immunity in vivo. In this study, we examined sections of adult Schistosoma mansoni in situ, within the vasculature of strains of mice that exhibit low (Balb/c) or high (CBA) pathology, and in the vasculature of infected chimpanzees, for evidence of cellular inflammation around the worms. In both mouse strains, we observe robust cellular inflammation around the parasite eggs in the intestines and liver tissue. However, we detect no overt cellular inflammation around the mature parasites in vivo. Likewise in the vasculature of infected chimpanzees, no immune cell accumulations are detected around adult schistosomes in situ. These data suggest that the parasites can promote a polar immune response that targets eggs (and assists the eggs to exit the host and continue the life cycle) but that does not effectively target the source of those eggs, namely, the adult worms.

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