Interleukin-9 is involved in host protective immunity to intestinal nematode infection



Murine studies have demonstrated that, as with other nematodes, infection with the intestinal nematode Trichinella spiralis is associated with a pronounced intestinal mastocytosis, eosinophilia and an elevation in serum levels of total IgE. Both interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5 are clearly important in the generation of IgE responses and eosinophilia, respectively, but the control of mucosal mastocytosis in vivo is not as well defined. Mucosal mast cells appear to be particularly important with regard to T.spiralis infections as there is good evidence to suggest their involvement in expulsion of the parasite from the host. In this study we examined the effect of the overproduction of the Th2 cytokine IL-9 on infection with this nematode. We demonstrate that naive IL-9-transgenic mice have an intense intestinal mastocytosis and high serum levels of mouse mast cell protease-1. Moreover, upon infection high titers of parasite-specific IgG1 were observed with a heightened mast cell response, which was associated with the rapid expulsion of T. spiralis from the gut. Furthermore, as depression of this mast cell response, using anti-c-kit antibodies, resulted in the inability of these mice to expel the parasite, this study clearly demonstrates an activity of IL-9 on mucosal mastocytosis and the host protective immune response in vivo.