Heligmosomoides polygyrus infection reduces severity of type 1 diabetes induced by multiple low-dose streptozotocin in mice via STAT6- and IL-10-independent mechanisms

Exp Parasitol. 2013 Oct;135(2):388-96. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2013.08.003. Epub 2013 Aug 19.


Some parasitic helminths are known to protect their hosts from allergic and autoimmune disorders. Here, we tested the effects of a gastrointestinal nematode, Heligmosomoides polygyrus (Hp), on streptozotocin (STZ)-induced type 1 diabetes (T1D) in mice. Hp infection significantly suppressed hyperglycemia induced by multiple low-dose administration of STZ, but did not affect hyperglycemia induced by single high-dose administration of STZ. In the multiple low dose model, Hp infection prevented a decrease in pancreatic islet size. The augmentation of TNF-α and IL-1β expression in the pancreas was abrogated by Hp infection. The genetic absence of IL-10 or STAT6 did not abrogate the anti-hyperglycemic effect of Hp. Hp has a suppressive effect on immune mechanism-mediated experimental T1D via Th2 polarization-independent mechanisms.

Keywords: Cytokine; Diabetes; Heligmosomoides polygyrus; Helminth; Immunomodulation; Streptozotocin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / immunology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Interferon-gamma / deficiency
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interleukin-10 / deficiency
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nematospiroides dubius / immunology*
  • STAT6 Transcription Factor / deficiency
  • STAT6 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • STAT6 Transcription Factor / immunology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Strongylida Infections / complications
  • Strongylida Infections / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • STAT6 Transcription Factor
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interferon-gamma