Leukotriene B4 amplifies eosinophil accumulation in response to nematodes

J Exp Med. 2014 Jun 30;211(7):1281-8. doi: 10.1084/jem.20132336. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


Eosinophil accumulation is a defining feature of the immune response to parasitic worm infection. Tissue-resident cells, such as epithelial cells, are thought to initiate eosinophil recruitment. However, direct recognition of worms by eosinophils has not been explored as a mechanism for amplifying eosinophil accumulation. Here, we report that eosinophils rapidly migrate toward diverse nematode species in three-dimensional culture. These include the mammalian parasite Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Surprisingly, collective migration toward worms requires paracrine leukotriene B4 signaling between eosinophils. In contrast, neutrophils show a minimal response to nematodes, yet are able to undergo robust leukotriene-dependent migration toward IgG-coated beads. We further demonstrate that eosinophils accumulate around C. elegans in the lungs of mice. This response is not dependent on bacterial products, CCR3, or complement activation. However, mice deficient in leukotriene signaling show markedly attenuated eosinophil accumulation after injection of C. elegans or N. brasiliensis. Our findings establish that nematode-derived signals can directly induce leukotriene production by eosinophils and that leukotriene signaling is a major contributor to nematode-induced eosinophil accumulation in the lung. The similarity of the eosinophil responses to diverse nematode species suggests that conserved features of nematodes are recognized during parasite infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / immunology
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Eosinophils / physiology
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Leukotriene B4 / genetics
  • Leukotriene B4 / immunology*
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Lung / parasitology
  • Lung / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nippostrongylus / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Strongylida Infections / immunology*


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Leukotriene B4