Helminth Products Protect against Autoimmunity via Innate Type 2 Cytokines IL-5 and IL-33, Which Promote Eosinophilia.

CM Finlay, AM Stefanska, KP Walsh, PJ Kelly, L Boon, EC Lavelle, PT Walsh, KH Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epidemiologic studies in humans have demonstrated that infection with helminth parasites is associated with a reduced risk of developing autoimmune diseases. Mechanistic studies in mice have linked the protective effect of helminths on autoimmunity to the suppressive activity of helminth-induced regulatory T cells (Tregs) or Th2 cells. In this study, we demonstrate that treatment of mice with Fasciola hepatica excretory-secretory products (FHES) attenuated the clinical signs of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Protection was associated with a significant reduction in the infiltration of pathogenic Th1 and Th17 cells into the brain. Although FHES enhanced anti-inflammatory cytokine and Th2 responses, protection against EAE was independent of IL-4, IL-10, and Tregs. However, administration of FHES induced production of the type 2 cytokines IL-33 and IL-5, which promoted accumulation of eosinophils. FHES-induced expansion of eosinophils and protection against EAE was lost in IL-33−/− mice and upon neutralization of IL-5. Furthermore, transfer of FHES-induced or IL-33–induced eosinophils conferred protection against EAE. In addition, treatment of mice with recombinant IL-33 attenuated autoimmunity, and this was dependent on IL-5. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report a role for helminth-induced IL-5 and IL-33 in protection against autoimmunity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-714
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2016


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