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Vet Res. 2013 Aug 21;44:70. doi: 10.1186/1297-9716-44-70.

Suppression of ovine lymphocyte activation by Teladorsagia circumcincta larval excretory-secretory products.

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Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik EH26 0PZ, UK.


Teladorsagia circumcincta is an important pathogenic nematode of sheep. It has been demonstrated previously that stimulation of murine T lymphocytes with excretory-secretory (ES) products derived from fourth stage larvae of T. circumcincta (Tci-L4-ES) results in de novo expression of Foxp3, a transcription factor intimately involved in regulatory T cell function. In the current study, Foxp3⁺ T cell responses in the abomasum and the effects of Tci-L4-ES on ovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) following T. circumcincta infection were investigated. T. circumcincta infection resulted in a significant increase in numbers of abomasal Foxp3⁺ T cells, but not an increase in the proportion of T cells expressing Foxp3. Unlike in mice, Tci-L4-ES was incapable of inducing T cell Foxp3 expression but instead suppressed mitogen-induced and antigen-specific activation and proliferation of ovine PBMC in vitro. This effect was heat labile, suggesting that it is mediated by protein(s). Suppression was associated with up-regulation of interleukin-10 (IL-10) mRNA, and specific monoclonal antibody neutralisation of IL-10 resulted in a 50% reduction in suppression, indicating involvement of the IL-10 signaling pathway. Suppression was significantly reduced in PBMC isolated from T. circumcincta infected vs. helminth-naïve lambs, and this reduction in suppression was associated with an increase in Tci-L4-ES antigen-specific T cells within the PBMC. In conclusion, we have identified a mechanism by which T. circumcincta may modulate the host adaptive immune response, potentially assisting survival of the parasite within the host. However, the impact of Tci-L4-ES-mediated lymphocyte suppression during T. circumcincta infection remains to be determined.

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