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Keywords:

  • eosinophils;
  • IL-4;
  • large intestine;
  • mesenteric lymph nodes;
  • Trichuris muris

Summary

Eosinophils have recently been demonstrated capable of localizing to lymph nodes that drain mucosal surfaces, in particular during T helper 2 (Th2) responses. Resistance of mice to infection with the gastrointestinal nematode Trichuris muris depends critically on mounting of a Th2 response and represents a useful model system to investigate Th2 responses. Following infection of resistant BALB/c mice with T. muris, we observed accumulation of eosinophils in intestine-draining mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs). The accumulation of MLN eosinophils was initiated during the second week of infection and peaked during worm expulsion. In contrast, we detected a comparably late and modest increase in eosinophil numbers in the MLNs of infected susceptible AKR mice. MLN eosinophils localized preferentially to the medullary region of the lymph node, displayed an activated phenotype and contributed to the interleukin-4 (IL-4) response in the MLN. Despite this, mice genetically deficient in eosinophils efficiently generated IL-4-expressing CD4+ T cells, produced Th2 cytokines and mediated worm expulsion during primary T. muris infection. Thus, IL-4-expressing eosinophils accumulate in MLNs of T. muris-infected BALB/c mice but are dispensable for worm expulsion and generation of Th2 responses, suggesting a distinct or subtle role of MLN eosinophils in the immune response to T. muris infection.