U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government


Main content area

Susceptibility to L. sigmodontis infection is highest in animals lacking IL-4R/IL-5 compared to single knockouts of IL-4R, IL-5 or eosinophils

Frohberger, Stefan J., Ajendra, Jesuthas, Surendar, Jayagopi, Stamminger, Wiebke, Ehrens, Alexandra, Buerfent, Benedikt C., Gentil, Katrin, Hoerauf, Achim, Hübner, Marc P.
Parasites & vectors 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 248
Litomosoides sigmodontis, adults, drugs, embryogenesis, eosinophils, filariasis, humans, immune response, immunomodulation, interleukin-5, macrophages, mice, microfilariae, models, spleen, thoracic cavity
BACKGROUND: Mice are susceptible to infections with the rodent filarial nematode Litomosoides sigmodontis and develop immune responses that resemble those of human filarial infections. Thus, the L. sigmodontis model is used to study filarial immunomodulation, protective immune responses against filariae and to screen drug candidates for human filarial diseases. While previous studies showed that type 2 immune responses are protective against L. sigmodontis, the present study directly compared the impact of eosinophils, IL-5, and the IL-4R on the outcome of L. sigmodontis infection. METHODS: Susceptible wildtype (WT) BALB/c mice, BALB/c mice lacking eosinophils (dblGATA mice), IL-5⁻/⁻ mice, IL-4R⁻/⁻ mice and IL-4R⁻/⁻/IL-5⁻/⁻ mice were infected with L. sigmodontis. Analyses were performed during the peak of microfilaremia in WT animals (71 dpi) as well as after IL-4R⁻/⁻/IL-5⁻/⁻ mice showed a decline in microfilaremia (119 dpi) and included adult worm counts, peripheral blood microfilariae levels, cytokine production from thoracic cavity lavage, the site of adult worm residence, and quantification of major immune cell types within the thoracic cavity and spleen. RESULTS: Our study reveals that thoracic cavity eosinophil numbers correlated negatively with the adult worm burden, whereas correlations of alternatively activated macrophage (AAM) numbers with the adult worm burden (positive correlation) were likely attributed to the accompanied changes in eosinophil numbers. IL-4R⁻/⁻/IL-5⁻/⁻ mice exhibited an enhanced embryogenesis achieving the highest microfilaremia with all animals becoming microfilariae positive and had an increased adult worm burden combined with a prolonged adult worm survival. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that mice deficient for IL-4R⁻/⁻/IL-5⁻/⁻ have the highest susceptibility for L. sigmodontis infection, which resulted in an earlier onset of microfilaremia, development of microfilaremia in all animals with highest microfilariae loads, and an extended adult worm survival.