IL-10 is critical for host resistance and survival during gastrointestinal helminth infection

Lisa R Schopf, Karl F Hoffmann, Allen W Cheever, Joseph F Urban, Thomas A Wynn

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181 Citations (SciVal)


Resistance to many intestinal nematodes is dependent on the induction of polarized type 2 cytokine responses, whereas type 1 responses can exacerbate these infections. The contributions of IL-4 and IL-13 to the development of resistance have been well described for a variety of intestinal parasites; however, the role of IL-10 has not been previously investigated. In this study we infected IL-10-, IL-10/IL-4-, IL-10/IL-12-, IL-4-, and IL-12-deficient mice with Trichuris muris to determine whether IL-10 contributes to the development of immunity. Interestingly, T. muris-infected IL-10-, IL-4-, and IL-10/IL-4-deficient mice failed to expel the parasite, and animals deficient in IL-10 displayed marked morbidity and mortality. In contrast, double IL-10/IL-12-deficient mice were completely resistant and mounted a highly polarized type 2 cytokine response, demonstrating that the increased susceptibility of IL-10-deficient mice was dependent on IL-12. Further study suggested that the susceptibility of IL-10- and IL-10/IL-4-deficient mice was probably attributable to a marked increase in type 1 cytokine production in those animals. The mortality observed in T. muris-infected IL-10- and IL-10/IL-4-deficient mice correlated with increased inflammation, loss of Paneth cells, and absence of mucus in the cecum. Interestingly, survival was enhanced in T. muris-infected IL-10/IL-4-deficient mice if a broad spectrum antibiotic was administered, suggesting that an outgrowth of opportunistic bacteria was contributing to the high degree of morbidity and mortality. Overall, these studies reveal a critical role for IL-10 in the polarization of Th2 responses, development of resistance during T. muris infection, and maintenance of barrier function in the colon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2383-2392
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2002


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