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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jan 13, 2004; 101(2): 586–590.
Published online Dec 29, 2003. doi:  10.1073/pnas.0305064101
PMCID: PMC327191
Immunology

IL-13 receptor α 2 down-modulates granulomatous inflammation and prolongs host survival in schistosomiasis

Abstract

An important feature of many chronic parasitic infections is the ability of the invading pathogen and host to establish a compromise, which ensures successful parasitism without killing the infected host. For many helminth infections, down-modulating the immune response is critical because persistent inflammation can become more damaging to the host than the invading pathogen itself. Such is the case with schistosomiasis mansoni, where chronic granulomatous inflammation in the liver causes portal hypertension, porto-pulmonary shunting, bleeding from collateral bypass vessels, and eventual death if not suppressed effectively. CD4+ T helper type 2 cells (Th2) (secreting IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13) characterize the host response after Schistosoma mansoni infection, and recent studies have identified IL-13 as the principal mediator of hepatic fibrosis. Here, we show that the IL-13 receptor α 2 (IL-13Rα2) is a critical mediator of immune down-modulation, identifying the receptor as a life-sustaining off signal for chronic and pernicious inflammation in schistosomiasis.


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