Infection with parasitic nematodes is characterized by the induction of a profound type 2 immune response. We have studied the role of glycans in the induction of the skewed type 2 response by antigens of the parasitic nematode Brugia malayi as well as the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Lymph node cells from BALB/c mice immunized with soluble extracts of the two nematodes showed distinct antigen-specific proliferation and cytokine production; however, both nematodes induced antigen-specific interleukin 4 (IL-4) production, demonstrating that the induction of a biased type 2 response is not unique to parasitic nematodes. Sodium periodate-treated soluble extracts of both nematodes consistently induced significantly less IL-4 production than the respective mock-treated extracts, indicating that glycans play a critical role in the induction of the Th2 immune response by these nematodes. The glycan-dependent induction of the Th2-potentiating cytokine IL-4 occurs by 72 h postinoculation. Our data suggest that glycan determinants common to nematodes act as ligands, displaying distinct molecular patterns that trigger the immune system to launch a biased Th2 immune response upon exposure to these organisms or their products. Further, the similarity of our findings to those for Schistosoma mansoni egg antigen is striking considering the enormous phylogenetic distance between nematodes and trematodes. These data thus have important implications for how the mammalian host responds to widely divergent metazoan invaders and suggest that the powerful C. elegans model system can be used to address these questions.
|Journal||Infection and immunity|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2004|