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Infect Immun. 2000 Oct;68(10):6005-11.

Expression of interleukin-9 leads to Th2 cytokine-dominated responses and fatal enteropathy in mice with chronic Schistosoma mansoni infections.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni develop Th2 cytokine-mediated granulomatous pathology that is focused on the liver and intestines. In this study, transgenic mice constitutively expressing IL-9 were infected with S. mansoni and the outcome of infection was determined. Eight weeks after infection, transgenic mice with acute infections had a moderate increase in Th2 cytokine production but were overtly normal with respect to parasite infection and pathological responses. Transgenic mice with chronic infections died 10 weeks after infection, with 86% of transgenic mice dead by week 12 of infection, compared to 7% mortality in infected wild-type mice. Stimulation of mesenteric lymph node cells from infected transgenic mice with parasite antigen elicited elevated interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-5 production and reduced gamma interferon and tumor necrosis factor alpha production compared to the responses in wild-type mice. Morbid transgenic mice had substantial enlargement of the ileum, which was associated with muscular hypertrophy, mastocytosis, eosinophilia, goblet cell hyperplasia, and increased mucin expression. We also observed that uninfected transgenic mice exhibited alterations in their intestines. Although there was hepatic mastocytosis and eosinophilia in infected transgenic mice, there was no hepatocyte damage. Death of transgenic mice expressing IL-9 during schistosome infection was primarily associated with enteropathy. This study highlights the pleiotropic in vivo activity of IL-9 and demonstrates that an elevated Th2 cytokine phenotype leads to death during murine schistosome infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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