Impaired resistance in early secondary Nippostrongylus brasiliensis infections in mice with defective eosinophilopoeisis

Michelle L. Knott, Klaus I. Matthaei, Paul R. Giacomin, Hui Wang, Paul S. Foster, Lindsay A. Dent*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    90 Citations (Scopus)


    Eosinophils are an important feature of immune responses to infections with many of the tissue-invasive helminth parasites. The cytokine IL-5 and a high-affinity double GATA-binding site within the GATA-1 promoter are critical for eosinophilopoiesis. In this study, we believe we demonstrate for the first time that defects in eosinophilopoiesis are associated with impaired resistance to Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. Primary and secondary infections were established in wildtype (WT), IL-5-/- and ΔdblGATA mice. Resistance to secondary infections was impaired in IL-5-/- and ΔdblGATA mice, with significantly more larvae able to reach the lungs 2 days p.i. Pulmonary inflammation was minimal in all strains in the first 2 days of both primary and secondary infections, suggesting that eosinophil-dependent resistance occurred before larvae reached this site. Intestinal worm burdens and/or parasite egg production in primary infections were greater in animals with defective eosinophilopoiesis. While larvae did reach the gut by day 3 of secondary infections of WT and IL-5-/- mice, worms were expelled by day 7, even in the complete absence of eosinophils in tissues of the small intestine. This and our previous studies indicate that N. brasiliensis are likely to be exquisitely sensitive to attack by eosinophils soon after entry into the skin. Eosinophils in the gut may make a modest contribution to resistance on first exposure to the parasite, but are not required for expulsion in either primary or secondary infections. In order to mount an effective immune response it may be vital for the host to identify and attack the parasite before it implements immune evasion strategies and migrates to other anatomical sites. These observations may be of particular significance for the development of successful vaccines against hookworms and other nematodes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1367-1378
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


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