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.
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