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J Immunol. 2004 Jan 15;172(2):1139-45.

IgE enhances parasite clearance and regulates mast cell responses in mice infected with Trichinella spiralis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Trichinella spiralis infection elicits a vigorous IgE response and pronounced intestinal and splenic mastocytosis in mice. Since IgE both activates mast cells (MC) and promotes their survival in culture, we examined its role in MC responses and parasite elimination in T. spiralis-infected mice. During primary infection, wild-type but not IgE-deficient (IgE(-/-)) BALB/c mice mounted a strong IgE response peaking 14 days into infection. The splenic mastocytosis observed in BALB/c mice following infection with T. spiralis was significantly diminished in IgE(-/-) mice while eosinophil responses were not diminished in either the blood or jejunum. Similar levels of peripheral blood eosinophilia and jejunal mastocytosis occurred in wild-type and IgE-deficient animals. Despite the normal MC response in the small intestine, serum levels of mouse MC protease-1 also were lower in parasite-infected IgE(-/-) animals and these animals were slower to eliminate the adult worms from the small intestine. The number of T. spiralis larvae present in the skeletal muscle of IgE(-/-) mice 28 days after primary infection was about twice that in BALB/c controls, and the fraction of larvae that was necrotic was reduced in the IgE-deficient animals. An intense deposition of IgE in and around the muscle larvae was observed in wild-type but not in IgE null mice. We conclude that IgE promotes parasite expulsion from the gut following T. spiralis infection and participates in the response to larval stages of the parasite. Furthermore, our observations support a role for IgE in the regulation of MC homeostasis in vivo.

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