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Eur J Immunol. 2004 Oct;34(10):2690-8.

Heligmosomoides polygyrus inhibits established colitis in IL-10-deficient mice.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology-Hepatology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is prevalent in industrialized countries, but rare in less-developed countries. Helminths, common in less-developed countries, may induce immunoregulatory circuits protective against IBD. IL-10(-/-) mice given piroxicam develop severe and persistent colitis. Lamina propria mononuclear cells from colitic IL-10(-/-) mice released IFN-gamma and IL-12. The ongoing piroxicam-induced colitis could be partially blocked with anti-IL-12 monoclonal antibody suggesting that the inflammation was at least partly IL-12 dependent. Colonization of piroxicam-treated colitic IL-10(-/-) mice with Heligmosomoides polygyrus (an intestinal helminth) suppressed established inflammation and inhibited mucosal IL-12 and IFN-gamma production. H. polygyrus augmented mucosal IL-13, but not IL-4 or IL-5 production. Transfer of mesenteric lymph node (MLN) T cells from IL-10(-/-) animals harboring H. polygyrus into colitic IL-10(-/-) recipients inhibited colitis. MLN T cells from worm-free mice did not. Foxp3 (scurfin) drives regulatory T cell function. H. polygyrus enhanced Foxp3 mRNA expression in MLN T cells that had regulatory activity. This suggests that H. polygyrus inhibits ongoing IL-10(-/-) colitis in part through blocking mucosal Th1 cytokine production. Resolution of inflammation is associated with increased IL-13 production and can be adoptively transferred by MLN T cells.

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