Eosinophils preserve parasitic nematode larvae by regulating local immunity

Nebiat G. Gebreselassie, Andrew R. Moorhead, Valeria Fabre, Lucille F. Gagliardo, Nancy A. Lee, James J. Lee, Judith A. Appleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Eosinophils play important roles in regulation of cellular responses under conditions of homeostasis or infection. Intestinal infection with the parasitic nematode, Trichinella spiralis, induces a pronounced eosinophilia that coincides with establishment of larval stages in skeletal muscle.We have shown previously that in mouse strains in which the eosinophil lineage is ablated, large numbers of T. spiralis larvae are killed by NO, implicating the eosinophil as an immune regulator. In this report, we show that parasite death in eosinophil-ablated mice correlates with reduced recruitment of IL-4 + T cells and enhanced recruitment of inducible NO synthase (iNOS)-producing neutrophils to infected muscle, as well as increased iNOS in local F4/80 +CD11b +Ly6C + macrophages. Actively growing T. spiralis larvae were susceptible to killing by NO in vitro, whereas mature larvae were highly resistant. Growth of larvae was impaired in eosinophil-ablated mice, potentially extending the period of susceptibility to the effects of NO and enhancing parasite clearance. Transfer of eosinophils into eosinophil-ablated ΔdblGATA mice restored larval growth and survival. Regulation of immunity was not dependent upon eosinophil peroxidase or major basic protein 1 and did not correlate with activity of the IDO pathway. Our results suggest that eosinophils support parasite growth and survival by promoting accumulation of Th2 cells and preventing induction of iNOS in macrophages and neutrophils. These findings begin to define the cellular interactions that occur at an extraintestinal site of nematode infection in which the eosinophil functions as a pivotal regulator of immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-425
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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