Trickle infection and immunity to Trichuris muris

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The majority of experiments investigating the immune response to gastrointestinal helminth infection use a single bolus infection. However, in situ individuals are repeatedly infected with low doses. Therefore, to model natural infection, mice were repeatedly infected (trickle infection) with low doses of Trichuris muris. Trickle infection resulted in the slow acquisition of immunity reflected by a gradual increase in worm burden followed by partial expulsion. Flow cytometry revealed that the CD4+ T cell response shifted from Th1 dominated to Th2 dominated, which coincided with an increase in Type 2 cytokines. The development of resistance following trickle infection was associated with increased worm expulsion effector mechanisms including goblet cell hyperplasia, Muc5ac production and increased epithelial cell turn over.  Depletion of CD4+ T cells reversed resistance confirming their importance in protective immunity following trickle infection. In contrast, depletion of group 2 innate lymphoid cells did not alter protective immunity. T. muris trickle infection resulted in a dysbiotic mircrobiota which began to recover alpha diversity following the development of resistance.  These data establish trickle infection as a robust and informative model for analysis of immunity to chronic intestinal helminth infection more akin to that observed under natural infection conditions and confirms the importance of CD4+ T cell adaptive immunity in host protection.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1007926
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalPL o S Pathogens
Issue number11
Early online date15 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020