2018-10-08Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.25646/5836
Parasitic Nematodes Exert Antimicrobial Activity and Benefit From Microbiota-Driven Support for Host Immune Regulation
Kühl, Anja A.
Renard, Bernhard Y.
Intestinal parasitic nematodes live in intimate contact with the host microbiota. Changes in the microbiome composition during nematode infection affect immune control of the parasites and shifts in the abundance of bacterial groups have been linked to the immunoregulatory potential of nematodes. Here we asked if the small intestinal parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus produces factors with antimicrobial activity, senses its microbial environment and if the anti-nematode immune and regulatory responses are altered in mice devoid of gut microbes. We found that H. polygyrus excretory/secretory products exhibited antimicrobial activity against gram+/− bacteria. Parasites from germ-free mice displayed alterations in gene expression, comprising factors with putative antimicrobial functions such as chitinase and lysozyme. Infected germ-free mice developed increased small intestinal Th2 responses coinciding with a reduction in local Foxp3+RORγt+ regulatory T cells and decreased parasite fecundity. Our data suggest that nematodes sense their microbial surrounding and have evolved factors that limit the outgrowth of certain microbes. Moreover, the parasites benefit from microbiota-driven immune regulatory circuits, as an increased ratio of intestinal Th2 effector to regulatory T cells coincides with reduced parasite fitness in germ-free mice.