Counterregulation of Th2 immunity by interleukin 12 reduces host defenses against Strongyloides venezuelensis infection

Microbes Infect. 2009 Apr;11(5):571-8. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2009.03.005. Epub 2009 Apr 1.


The aim of this study was to investigate the role of interleukin 12 (IL-12) during Strongyloides venezuelensis infection. IL-12(-/-) and wild-type C57BL/6 mice were subcutaneously infected with 1500 larvae of S. venezuelensis. On days 7, 14, and 21 post-infection, we determined eosinophil and mononuclear cell numbers in the blood and broncoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), Th2 cytokine secretion in the lung parenchyma, and serum antibody levels. The numbers of eggs in the feces and worm parasites in the duodena were also quantified. The eosinophil and mononuclear cell counts and the concentrations of IL-3, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, and IgG1 and IgE antibodies increased significantly in infected IL-12(-/-) and wild-type mice as compared with uninfected controls. However, the number of eosinophils and mononuclear cells in the blood and BALF and the Th2 cytokine levels in the lungs of infected IL-12(-/-) mice were greater than in infected wild-type C57BL/6 mice. In addition, serum IgE and IgG1 levels were also significantly enhanced in the infected mice lacking IL-12. Meanwhile, parasite burden and fecal egg counts were significantly decreased in infected IL-12(-/-) mice. Together, our results showed that the absence of IL-12 upregulates the Th2 immune response, which is important for control of S. venezuelensis infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Helminth / blood
  • Blood Cells / immunology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Interleukin-12 / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Parasite Egg Count
  • Strongyloides / immunology*
  • Strongyloidiasis / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Helminth
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-12