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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 735342, 9 pages
Research Article

Parasite-Specific IL-17-Type Cytokine Responses and Soluble IL-17 Receptor Levels in Alveolar Echinococcosis Patients

1Institute for Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen Clinics, 72074 Tübingen, Germany
2Division of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Immunology, Comprehensive Infectious Disease Center, University of Ulm Hospitals, 89081 Ulm, Germany

Received 21 May 2012; Accepted 23 July 2012

Academic Editor: Mark Wilson

Copyright © 2012 Christian J. Lechner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alveolar Echinococcosis (AE) caused by the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis, is a severe helminth infection of man, where unrestricted parasite growth will ultimately result in organ failure and fatality. The tissue-infiltrative growth of the larval metacestode and the limited efficacy of available drugs complicate successful intervention in AE; patients often need life-long medication, and if possible, surgical resection of affected tissues and organs. Resistance to AE has been reported, but the determinants which confer protection are not known. ln this study, we analyzed in patients at distinct stages of Alveolar Echirococcosis, that is cured, stable and progressive AE, as well as in infection-free controls, the cellular production and plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines lL-17A, lL-17B, lL-17F and their soluble receptors lL-17RA (slL-17RA) and IL-17RB (sIL-17RB). Significantly elevated levels of IL-17B and slL-17RB were observed, whilst lL-17F and slL-17RA were reduced in patients with AE. Similarly, the cellular production of lL-17F and slL-L7RA in response to E. multilocularis antigens was low in AE patients, while levels of slL-17RB were highly enhanced. These observations suggest immune-modulating properties of E. multitocularis on lL-17 cytokine-mediated pro-inflammatory immune responses; this may facilitate the tissue infiltrative growth of the parasite and its persistence in the human host.