Early stages of Ascaris suum induce airway inflammation and hyperreactivity in a mouse model


: Dr Maria Fernanda de Macedo Soares, Laboratory of Immunopathology, Butantan Institute, Av Vital Brasil, 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo SP Brasil (e-mail: fmacedo@usp.br).


The inflammatory and functional changes that occur in murine lung after infection with 2500 infective Ascaris suum eggs were studied in this work. A sequential influx of neutrophils, mononuclear cells and eosinophils occurred into airways concomitantly with migration of larvae from liver to the lungs. Histological analysis of the lung showed a severe intra-alveolar haemorrhage at the peak of larval migration (day 8) and the most intense inflammatory cell infiltrate on day 14. Ascaris L3 were found in alveolar spaces and inside bronchioles on day 8. The number of eosinophils was elevated in the blood on days 8 and 14. The peak of eosinophil influx into the lung was at day 14, as indicated by the high levels of eosinophil peroxidase activity, followed by their migration into the airways. The antibody response against egg and larval antigens consisted mainly of IgG1 and IgM, and also of IgE and anaphylactic IgG1, that cross-reacted with adult worm antigens. Total IgE levels were substantially elevated during the infection. Measurement of lung mechanical parameters showed airway hyperreactivity in infected mice. In conclusion, the murine model of A. suum infection mimics the Th2-induced parameters observed in pigs and humans and can be used to analyse the immunoregulatory properties of this helminth.