BACKGROUND: Schistosomiasis is known to induce inflammatory immune responses. C-reactive protein (CRP), resistin and P-selectin are serological inflammatory markers that rise during the acute stages of infection. Here, we propose such inflammatory biomarkers have a potential for use in urogenital schistosomiasis diagnostic screening for exposure and infection in preschool-aged children.
METHODS: As part of a larger study on urogenital schistosomiasis, 299 preschool children aged 1-5 years were included in this cross-sectional study. Parasitological diagnosis was conducted using urine filtration for Schistosoma haemtobium infection, and Kato Katz for S. mansoni infection. Serum levels of P-selectin, resistin, CRP, and antibodies against S. haematobium cercarial antigen preparation (CAP) and soluble worm antigen preparation (SWAP) were measured by ELISA.
RESULTS: Of the 299 participants, 14% were egg positive for S. haematobium. Serology showed 46 and 9% of the participants to have been exposed to S. haematobium cercarial antigens and adult worm antigens, respectively. Levels of P-selectin were significantly higher in participants infected with S. haematobium (egg-positive) than in uninfected participants (p = 0.001). Levels of P-selectin were also higher in those exposed to cercarial antigen than in unexposed participants (p = 0.019). There was a positive correlation between P-selectin and infection intensity (r = 0.172; p = 0.002), as well as with IgM responses to CAP and SWAP (r = 0.183; p = 0.001); (r = 0.333; p < 0.0001) respectively. CRP significantly correlated with IgM responses to CAP (r = 0.133; p = 0.029) while resistin correlated with IgM responses to CAP and SWAP (r = 0.127; p = 0.016); (r = 0.197; p = 0.0004). CRP levels were higher in those exposed to cercarial and adult worm antigens than unexposed participants (p = 0.035); (p = 0.002) respectively, while resistin was higher in participants exposed to cercarial antigen than unexposed participants (p = 0.024).
CONCLUSION: In this preschool population, P-selectin is significantly associated with urogenital schistosome infection and intensity; hence a potential biomarker for infection diagnosis and disease monitoring. The inflammatory biomarkers (P-selectin, Resistin and CRP) were significantly higher in participants exposed to cercarial antigens than unexposed individuals indicating an underlying inflammatory environment.