Co-ordinated gene expression in the liver and spleen during schistosoma japonicum infection regulates cell migration

Melissa L. Burke, Donald P. McManus, Grant A. Ramm, Mary Duke, Yuesheng Li, Malcolm K. Jones, Geoffrey N. Gobert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Determining the molecular events induced in the spleen during schistosome infection is an essential step in better understanding the immunopathogenesis of schistosomiasis and the mechanisms by which schistosomes modulate the host immune response. The present study defines the transcriptional and cellular events occurring in the murine spleen during the progression of Schistosoma japonicum infection. Additionally, we compared and contrasted these results with those we have previously reported for the liver. Microarray analysis combined with flow cytometry and histochemistry demonstrated that transcriptional changes occurring in the spleen were closely related to changes in cellular composition. Additionally, the presence of alternatively activated macrophages, as indicated by up-regulation of Chi3l3 and Chi3l4 and expansion of F4/80+ macrophages, together with enhanced expression of the immunoregulatory genes ANXA1 and CAMP suggests the spleen may be an important site for the control of S. japonicum-induced immune responses. The most striking difference between the transcriptional profiles of the infected liver and spleen was the contrasting expression of chemokines and cell adhesion molecules. Lymphocyte chemokines, including the homeostatic chemokines CXCL13, CCL19 and CCL21, were significantly down-regulated in the spleen but up-regulated in the liver. Eosinophil (CCL11, CCL24), neutrophil (CXCL1) and monocyte (CXCL14, CCL12) chemokines and the cell adhesion molecules VCAM1, NCAM1, PECAM1 were up-regulated in the liver but unchanged in the spleen. Chemokines up-regulated in both organs were expressed at significantly higher levels in the liver. Co-ordinated expression of these genes probably contributes to the development of a chemotactic signalling gradient that promotes recruitment of effector cells to the liver, thereby facilitating the development of hepatic granulomas and fibrosis. Together these data provide, for the first time, a comprehensive overview of the molecular events occurring in the spleen during schistosomiasis and will substantially further our understanding of the local and systemic mechanisms driving the immunopathogenesis of this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere686
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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