Inflammation-induced impairment of enteric nerve function in nematode-infected mice is macrophage dependent

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2000 Feb;278(2):G259-65. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.2000.278.2.G259.


Trichinella spiralis infection in rodents is associated with suppression of ACh release from myenteric plexus that can be mimicked by macrophage-derived cytokines. We verified the presence of a macrophage infiltrate in the intestine during T. spiralis infection and determined the extent to which this cell type is responsible for the neural changes. C57BL/6 mice were infected with 375 T. spiralis larvae by gavage, and the presence of macrophages (F4/80 positive) in the jejunum was determined immunohistochemically. In another experiment, infected mice were treated intravenously with liposomes containing dichloromethylene diphosphonate (clodronate, Cl(2)MDP), which causes apoptosis of macrophages, and killed at postinfection day 6, and jejunal tissues were evaluated for the presence of F4/80-positive cells and for [(3)H]ACh release from the myenteric plexus. Infection caused an infiltration of F4/80-positive cells into the intestinal mucosa, muscle layers, and myenteric plexus region and a significant suppression of ACh release (50%). Depletion of F4/80-positive macrophages using Cl(2)MDP-containing liposomes prevented the suppression in [(3)H]ACh release, identifying macrophages as the cell type involved in the functional impairment of enteric cholinergic nerves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / pathology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / physiopathology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Jejunum / pathology
  • Kinetics
  • Liposomes / administration & dosage
  • Macrophages / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myenteric Plexus / physiopathology*
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Trichinella spiralis*
  • Trichinellosis / pathology
  • Trichinellosis / physiopathology*


  • Cytokines
  • Liposomes
  • Peroxidase
  • Acetylcholine