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J Immunol. 2004 Dec 15;173(12):7454-61.

Helminth antigens modulate TLR-initiated dendritic cell activation.

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Department of Pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


There is increasing awareness that helminth infections can ameliorate proinflammatory conditions. In part, this is due to their inherent ability to induce Th2 and, perhaps, regulatory T cell responses. However, recent evidence indicates that helminths also have direct anti-inflammatory effects on innate immune responses. In this study, we address this issue and show that soluble molecules from the eggs of the helminth parasite Schistosoma mansoni (SEA) suppress LPS-induced activation of immature murine dendritic cells, including MHC class II, costimulatory molecule expression, and IL-12 production. SEA-augmented LPS-induced production of IL-10 is in part responsible for the observed reduction in LPS-induced IL-12 production. However, analyses of IL-10(-/-) DC revealed distinct IL-10-independent suppressive effects of SEA. IL-10-independent mechanisms are evident in the suppression of TLR ligand-induced MAPK and NF-kappaB signaling pathways. Microarray analyses demonstrate that SEA alone uniquely alters the expression of a small subset of genes that are not up-regulated during conventional TLR-induced DC maturation. In contrast, the effects of SEA on TLR ligand-induced DC activation were striking: when mixed with LPS, SEA significantly affects the expression of >100 LPS-regulated genes. These findings indicate that SEA exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects by directly regulating the ability of DC to respond to TLR ligands.

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