Background: Chronic schistosomiasis and its severe complication, periportal fibrosis, are characterized by a predominant TH2 response. To date, specific single nucleotide polymorphisms in ST2 have been some of the most consistently associated genetic variants for asthma. Objective: We investigated the role of ST2 (a receptor for the TH2 cytokine IL-33) in chronic and late-stage schistosomiasis caused by Schistosoma japonicum and the potential effect of ST2 genetic variants on stage of disease and ST2 expression. Methods: We recruited 947 adult participants (339 with end-stage schistosomiasis and liver cirrhosis, 307 with chronic infections without liver fibrosis, and 301 health controls) from a S japonicum–endemic area (Hubei, China). Six ST2 single nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped. Serum soluble ST2 (sST2) was measured by ELISA, and ST2 expression in normal liver tissues, Hepatitis B virus–induced fibrotic liver tissues, and S japonicum–induced fibrotic liver tissues was measured by immunohistochemistry. Results: We found sST2 levels were significantly higher in the end-stage group (36.04 [95% CI, 33.85-38.37]) compared with chronic cases and controls (22.7 [95% CI, 22.0-23.4], P < 1E-10). In addition, S japonicum–induced fibrotic liver tissues showed increased ST2 staining compared with normal liver tissues (P =.0001). Markers rs12712135, rs1420101, and rs6543119 were strongly associated with sST2 levels (P = 2E-10, 5E-05, and 6E-05, respectively), and these results were replicated in an independent cohort from Brazil living in a S mansoni endemic region. Conclusions: We demonstrate for the first time that end-stage schistosomiasis is associated with elevated sST2 levels and show that ST2 genetic variants are associated with sST2 levels in patients with schistosomiasis.
- Schistosoma japonicum
- liver cirrhosis immunohistochemistry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy