Get access

The effect of nematode infection upon intestinal smooth muscle function

Authors

  • VALLANCE,

    1. Intestinal Diseases Research Programme, Division of Gastroenterology, McMaster University Medical Center, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5
    Search for more papers by this author
  • COLLINS

    1. Intestinal Diseases Research Programme, Division of Gastroenterology, McMaster University Medical Center, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5
    Search for more papers by this author

VALLANCE Intestinal Diseases Research Programme, Division of Gastroenterology, McMaster University Medical Center, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5

Abstract

Nematode infections are useful in studying both host defence and inflammation induced changes in intestinal physiology, including increased contraction by intestinal muscle. Our initial studies of the heightened muscle function found during T. spiralis infection led to investigations of the role of immune and inflammatory cells and mediators in the immunodulation of intestinal muscle function. By infecting various immunodeficient mouse strains, as well as gene transfer to the intestine, T lymphocytes, and in particular the CD4+ve subset were found to be responsible for altering smooth muscle function. However, eosinophils as well as the cytokine interleukin-4 may also be involved. Investigations also indicate a potential role for increased muscle function and propulsive activity in expelling nematode parasites. Mutant mice which suffer aberrant intestinal propulsion, or based upon an immunodeficiency, undergo reduced changes in muscle function during infection, undergo prolonged infections. While increased muscle function may be an adaptive host response, the changes in muscle function may persist long after the resolution of the infection. Thus understanding the mechanisms behind the immunomodulation of intestinal muscle function may also impact upon clinical gastroenterology, since motility disturbances in man often occur following enteric infections, or other inflammatory conditions of the bowel.

Ancillary