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Papers of the Week

2020 Mar

Mucosal Immunol



NK cell recruitment limits tissue damage during an enteric helminth infection.


Gentile ME, Li Y, Robertson A, Shah K, Fontes G, Kaufmann E, Polese B, Khan N, Parisien M, Munter HM, Mandl JN, Diatchenko L, Divangahi M, King IL
Mucosal Immunol. 2020 Mar; 13(2):357-370.
PMID: 31776431.


Parasitic helminths cause significant damage as they migrate through host tissues to complete their life cycle. While chronic helminth infections are characterized by a well-described Type 2 immune response, the early, tissue-invasive stages are not well understood. Here we investigate the immune pathways activated during the early stages of Heligmosomoides polygyrus bakeri (Hpb), a natural parasitic roundworm of mice. In contrast to the Type 2 immune response present at later stages of infection, a robust Type 1 immune signature including IFNg production was dominant at the time of parasite invasion and granuloma formation. This early response was associated with an accumulation of activated Natural Killer (NK) cells, with no increase of other innate lymphoid cell populations. Parabiosis and confocal microscopy studies indicated that NK cells were recruited from circulation to the small intestine, where they surrounded parasitic larvae. NK cell recruitment required IFNγ receptor signaling, but was independent of CXCR3 expression. The depletion of tissue-infiltrating NK cells altered neither worm burden nor parasite fitness, but increased vascular injury, suggesting a role for NK cells in mediating tissue protection. Together, these data identify an unexpected role for NK cells in promoting disease tolerance during the invasive stage of an enteric helminth infection.