1 Parasitology and Aquatic Diseases, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 University of Nairobi3 Ministry of Public Health & Sanitation4 Section of Parasitology, Health and Development, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Københavns Universitet5 Kenya Medical Research Institute6 Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology7 University of Nairobi8 Parasitology and Aquatic Diseases, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet9 Section of Parasitology, Health and Development, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Københavns Universitet
BACKGROUND: Pathological changes due to infection with Schistosoma haematobium include cytokine-mediated urinary tract inflammation. The involved cytokines may be excreted in urine and their presence in urine may therefore reflect S. haematobium-related urinary tract pathology. The present study, for the first time, reports on the relationship between selected cytokines in urine and infection with S. haematobium in children from an area highly affected by this parasite. METHODS: Children aged 5-12 years from two primary schools in Tana Delta District of Kenya were examined for S. haematobium eggs using urine filtration technique, for haematuria using dipstix and for eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), IL-6, IFN- γ, TNF-α and IL-10 levels using ELISA, and for S. haematobium-related urinary tract pathology using ultrasonography. In addition, venous blood was examined for serum IL-6, IFN- γ, TNF-α and IL-10 levels using ELISA. RESULTS: There was no significant correlation between urinary and serum levels of IL-6, IFN- γ, TNF-α or IL-10. There was no significant difference in geometric mean intensity (GMI) in any of the serum cytokines, or in urinary TNF-α or IFN-γ, between children with light and heavy S. haematobium infections. However, children with heavy S. haematobium infections had significantly higher GMI of urinary IL-6 (p < 0.001) and lower GMI of urinary IL-10 (p = 0.002) than children with light infections. There was also a significant positive correlation between urinary IL-6 and urinary ECP (p < 0.001) and a significant negative correlation between urinary IL-10 and urinary ECP (p = 0.012). CONCLUSION: Urinary IL-6 was positively correlated to and IL-10 was negatively correlated to infection intensity and urinary tract inflammation in S. haematobium-infected children. Urinary IL-6 and IL-10 ELISA may be a useful non-invasive tool to complement the already available tools for studying S. haematobium-related urinary tract pathology in children.