Hookworm-induced persistent changes to the immunological environment of the lung.
ABSTRACT: A number of important helminth parasites of humans have incorporated short-term residence in the lungs as an obligate phase of their life cycles. The significance of this transient pulmonary exposure to the infection and immunity is not clear. Employing a rodent model of infection with hookworm (Nippostrongylus brasiliensis), we characterized the long-term changes in the immunological status of the lungs induced by parasite infection. At 36 days after infection, alterations included a sustained increase in the transcription of both Th2 and Th1 cytokines as well as a significant increase in the number and frequency of alveolar macrophages displaying an alternatively activated phenotype. While N. brasiliensis did not induce alternate activation of lung macrophages in STAT6(-/-) animals, the parasite did induce a robust Th17 response in the pulmonary environment, suggesting that STAT6 signaling plays a role in modulating Th17 immunity and pathology in the lungs. In the context of the cellular and molecular changes induced by N. brasiliensis infection, there was a significant reduction in overall airway responsiveness and lung inflammation in response to allergen. In addition, the N. brasiliensis-altered pulmonary environment showed dramatic alterations in the nature and number of genes that were up- and downregulated in the lung in response to allergen challenge. The results demonstrate that even a transient exposure to a helminth parasite can effect significant and protracted changes in the immunological environment of the lung and that these complex molecular and cellular changes are likely to play a role in modulating a subsequent allergen-induced inflammatory response.
Project description:While it is well established that infection with the rodent hookworm Nippostrongylus brasiliensis induces a strongly polarized Th2 immune response, little is known about the innate host-parasite interactions that lead to the development of this robust Th2 immunity. We exploited the transient pulmonary phase of N. brasiliensis development to study the innate immune responses induced by this helminth parasite in wild-type (WT) and severe-combined immune deficient (SCID) BALB/c mice. Histological analysis demonstrated that the cellular infiltrates caused by N. brasiliensis transit through the lungs were quickly resolved in WT mice but not in SCID mice. Microarray-based gene expression analysis demonstrated that there was a rapid induction of genes encoding molecules that participate in innate immunity and in repair/remodeling during days 2 to 4 postinfection in the lungs of WT and SCID mice. Of particular note was the rapid upregulation in both WT and SCID mice of the genes encoding YM1, FIZZ1, and Arg1, indicating a role for alternatively activated macrophages (AAMs) in pulmonary innate immunity. Immunohistochemistry revealed that nearly all alveolar macrophages became YM1-producing AAMs as early as day 2 postinfection. While the innate responses induced during the lung phase of N. brasiliensis infection were similar in complexity and magnitude in WT and SCID mice, only mice with functional T cells were capable of maintaining elevated levels of gene expression beyond the innate window of reactivity. The induction of alternatively activated alveolar macrophages could be important for dampening the level of inflammation in the lungs and contribute to the long-term decrease in pulmonary inflammation that has been associated with helminth infections.
Project description:Elimination of the helminth parasite Nippostrongylus brasiliensis from infected mice is mediated by IL-4 or IL-13 and dependent on the IL-4Ralpha chain and the transcription factor Stat6 in non-hematopoietic cells. However, it is not clear which Stat6-dependent effector molecules mediate worm expulsion. We identified intelectin-1 and -2 as Stat6-dependent genes that are induced during infection. Intelectins can bind galactofuranose, a sugar present only in microorganisms and might therefore serve as microbial pattern element. To analyze whether constitutive expression of intelectin-1 or -2 leads to accelerated pathogen clearance, transgenic mice were generated which express high levels of these genes selectively in the lung. Infection with N. brasiliensis or Mycobacterium tuberculosis did not result in accelerated pathogen clearance in transgenic as compared to wild-type mice. Further, no significant modulation of the immune response in lung or lymph nodes was observed. Thus, under these conditions, intelectins did not enhance pathogen clearance.
Project description:Gene expression in the lung and intestine of wild-type and stat6 deficient mice on BALB/c background infected with the helminth parasite Nippostrongylus brasiliensis was compared by competitive hybridization to spotted 70-mer oligonucleotide arrays.
Project description:Arg1 is produced by AAMs and is proposed to have a regulatory role during asthma and allergic inflammation. Here, we use an Arg1 reporter mouse to identify additional cellular sources of the enzyme in the lung. We demonstrate that ILC2s express Arg1 at rest and during infection with the migratory helminth Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. In contrast to AAMs, which express Arg1 following IL-4/IL-13-mediated STAT6 activation, ILC2s constitutively express the enzyme in a STAT6-independent manner. Although ILC2s deficient in the IL-33R subunit T1/ST2 maintain Arg1 expression, IL-33 can regulate total lung Arg1 by expanding the ILC2 population and by activating macrophages indirectly via STAT6. Finally, we find that ILC2 Arg1 does not mediate ILC2 accumulation, ILC2 production of IL-5 and IL-13, or collagen production during N. brasiliensis infection. Thus, ILC2s are a novel source of Arg1 in resting tissue and during allergic inflammation.
Project description:Goal: To examine the effects of human resistin during helminth infection. Methodology: To examine the function of human resistin (hResistin), we utilized transgenic mice expressing the human resistin gene along with its entire regulatory region (hRetnTg+). Following infection with the helminth Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, whole lung RNA was sequenced in hRetnTg+ mice, control hRetnTg- and naïve mice. Conclusion: In hRetnTg+ mice, many genes involved in inflammation and the immune system, specifically toll-like receptor signaling and chemokines, are significantly upregulated, suggesting that human resistin promotes TLR signaling and inflammation during helminth infection. Examination of whole lung mRNA from Nippostrongylus brasiliensis-infected lungs at day 7 in mice expressing human resistin
Project description:The rodent hookworm Nippostrongylus brasiliensis typically infects its host by penetrating the skin and rapidly migrating to the lungs and gut. Following primary infection, immunocompetent mice become highly protected from reinfection with N. brasiliensis, with the numbers of worms gaining access to the lungs and gut being reduced by up to 90%. We used green fluorescent protein/interleukin-4 (IL-4) reporter mice and truncated infection studies to identify both the tissue site and mechanism(s) by which the host protects itself from reinfection with N. brasiliensis. Strikingly, we demonstrated that the lung is an important site for priming immune protection. Furthermore, a lung-initiated, CD4 T-cell-dependent, and IL-4- and STAT6-dependent response was sufficient to confer protection against reinfection. In conclusion, vaccination strategies which seek to break the cycle of reinfection and egg production by helminths such as hookworms can include strategies which directly stimulate Th2 responses in the lung.
Project description:Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), a chronic granulomatous disease caused by the thermally dimorphic fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and Paracoccidioides lutzii, has the highest mortality rate among systemic mycosis. The T helper 1-mediated immunity is primarily responsible for acquired resistance during P. brasiliensis infection, while susceptibility is associated with Th2 occurrence. Th17 is a population of T CD4+ cells that, among several chemokines and cytokines, produces IL-17A and requires the presence of IL-1, IL-6, and TGF-? for differentiation in mice and IL-23 for its maintenance. Th17 has been described as an arm of the immune system that enhances host protection against several bacterial and fungal infections, as Pneumocystis carinii and Candida albicans. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the Th17 immune response and the role of Th17-associated cytokines (IL-6, IL-23, and IL-17A) during experimental PCM. First, we observed that P. brasiliensis infection [virulent yeast strain 18 of P. brasiliensis (Pb18)] increased the IL-17A production in vitro and all the evaluated Th17-associated cytokines in the lung tissue from C57BL/6 wild-type mice. In addition, the deficiency of IL-6, IL-23, or IL-17 receptor A (IL-17RA) impaired the compact granuloma formation and conferred susceptibility during infection, associated with reduced tumor necrosis factor-?, IFN-?, and inducible nitric oxide synthase enzyme expression. Our data suggest that IL-6 production by bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) is important to promote the Th17 differentiation during Pb18 infection. In accordance, the adoptive transfer of BMDMs from C57BL/6 to infected IL-6-/- or IL-17RA-/- mice reduced the fungal burden in the lungs compared to nontransferred mice and reestablished the pulmonary granuloma formation. Taken together, these results suggest that Th17-associated cytokines are involved in the modulation of immune response and granuloma formation during experimental PCM.
Project description:Helminths have coevolved with their hosts, resulting in the development of specialized host immune mechanisms and parasite-specific regulatory products. Identification of new pathways that regulate helminth infection could provide a better understanding of host-helminth interaction and may identify new therapeutic targets for helminth infection. Here we identify the endocannabinoid system as a new mechanism that influences host immunity to helminths. Endocannabinoids are lipid-derived signaling molecules that control important physiologic processes, such as feeding behavior and metabolism. Following murine infection with Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, an intestinal nematode with a life cycle similar to that of hookworms, we observed increased levels of endocannabinoids (2-arachidonoylglycerol [2-AG] or anandamide [AEA]) and the endocannabinoid-like molecule oleoylethanolamine (OEA) in infected lung and intestine. To investigate endocannabinoid function in helminth infection, we employed pharmacological inhibitors of cannabinoid subtype receptors 1 and 2 (CB1R and CB2R). Compared to findings for vehicle-treated mice, inhibition of CB1R but not CB2R resulted in increased N. brasiliensis worm burden and egg output, associated with significantly decreased expression of the T helper type 2 cytokine interleukin 5 (IL-5) in intestinal tissue and splenocyte cultures. Strikingly, bioinformatic analysis of genomic and transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) data sets identified putative genes encoding endocannabinoid biosynthetic and degradative enzymes in many parasitic nematodes. To test the novel hypothesis that helminth parasites produce their own endocannabinoids, we measured endocannabinoid levels in N. brasiliensis by mass spectrometry and quantitative PCR and found that N. brasiliensis parasites produced endocannabinoids, especially at the infectious larval stage. To our knowledge, this is the first report of helminth- and host-derived endocannabinoids that promote host immune responses and reduce parasite burden.
Project description:Maladaptive, Th2-polarized inflammatory responses are integral to the pathogenesis of allergic asthma. As regulators of T cell activation, dendritic cells (DCs) are important mediators of allergic asthma, yet the precise signals which render endogenous DCs "pro-asthmatic", and the extent to which these signals are regulated by the pulmonary environment and host genetics, remains unclear. Comparative phenotypic and functional analysis of pulmonary DC populations in mice susceptible (A/J), or resistant (C3H) to experimental asthma, revealed that susceptibility to airway hyperresponsiveness is associated with preferential myeloid DC (mDC) allergen uptake, and production of Th17-skewing cytokines (IL-6, IL-23), whereas resistance is associated with increased allergen uptake by plasmacytoid DCs. Surprisingly, adoptive transfer of syngeneic HDM-pulsed bone marrow derived mDCs (BMDCs) to the lungs of C3H mice markedly enhanced lung IL-17A production, and rendered them susceptible to allergen-driven airway hyperresponsiveness. Characterization of these BMDCs revealed levels of antigen uptake, and Th17 promoting cytokine production similar to that observed in pulmonary mDCs from susceptible A/J mice. Collectively these data demonstrate that the lung environment present in asthma-resistant mice promotes robust pDC allergen uptake, activation, and limits Th17-skewing cytokine production responsible for driving pathologic T cell responses central to the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness.
Project description:Retnla (Resistin-like molecule alpha/FIZZ1) is induced during Th2 cytokine immune responses. However, the role of Retnla in Th2-type immunity is unknown. Here, using Retnla(-/-) mice and three distinct helminth models, we show that Retnla functions as a negative regulator of Th2 responses. Pulmonary granuloma formation induced by the eggs of the helminth parasite Schistosoma mansoni is dependent on IL-4 and IL-13 and associated with marked increases in Retnla expression. We found that both primary and secondary pulmonary granuloma formation were exacerbated in the absence of Retlna. The number of granuloma-associated eosinophils and serum IgE titers were also enhanced. Moreover, when chronically infected with S. mansoni cercariae, Retnla(-/-) mice displayed significant increases in granulomatous inflammation in the liver and the development of fibrosis and progression to hepatosplenic disease was markedly augmented. Finally, Retnla(-/-) mice infected with the gastrointestinal (GI) parasite Nippostrongylus brasiliensis had intensified lung pathology to migrating larvae, reduced fecundity, and accelerated expulsion of adult worms from the intestine, suggesting Th2 immunity was enhanced. When their immune responses were compared, helminth infected Retnla(-/-) mice developed stronger Th2 responses, which could be reversed by exogenous rRelmalpha treatment. Studies with several cytokine knockout mice showed that expression of Retnla was dependent on IL-4 and IL-13 and inhibited by IFN-gamma, while tissue localization and cell isolation experiments indicated that eosinophils and epithelial cells were the primary producers of Retnla in the liver and lung, respectively. Thus, the Th2-inducible gene Retnla suppresses resistance to GI nematode infection, pulmonary granulomatous inflammation, and fibrosis by negatively regulating Th2-dependent responses.