Effect of different helminth extracts on the development of asthma in mice: The influence of early-life exposure and the role of IL-10 response

Exp Parasitol. 2015 Sep;156:95-103. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2015.06.004. Epub 2015 Jun 17.


It is not currently clear whether different parasites have distinct effects on the airway inflammatory response in asthma and whether exposure in early life to helminths have a stronger impact in a potential inhibitory effect on asthma. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of exposure to different helminth extracts on the development of allergic pulmonary response in mice, including early-life exposure. Different helminth extracts (Angiostrongylus costaricensis, Angiostrongylus cantonensis and Ascaris lumbricoides) were studied in female adult BALB/c and C57BL/6 IL-10-deficient mice in a protocol of murine asthma, injected intraperitoneally in different periods of exposure (early, pre-sensitization and post-sensitization). Cell counts in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), eosinophil peroxidase (EPO) from lung tissue, cytokine levels from BAL/spleen cell cultures, and lung histology were analyzed. Airway cellular influx induced by OVA was significantly inhibited by extracts of A. cantonensis and A. lumbricoides. Extracts of A. lumbricoides and A. costaricensis led to a significant reduction of IL-5 in BAL (p < 0.001). Only the exposure to A. lumbricoides led to an increased production of IL-10 in the lungs (p < 0.001). In IL-10-deficient mice exposed to A. costaricensis pre-sensitization, eosinophil counts and IL-5 levels in BAL and EPO in lung tissue were significantly reduced. In the early exposure to A. cantonensis, lung inflammation was clearly inhibited. In conclusion, different helminth extracts inhibit allergic lung inflammation in mice. IL-10 may not play a central role in some helminth-host interactions. Early exposure to helminth extracts could be a potential strategy to explore primary prevention in asthma.

Keywords: Asthma; Atopy; Helminth; Mice; Parasite.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Angiostrongylus / immunology*
  • Angiostrongylus cantonensis / immunology
  • Animals
  • Ascariasis / complications
  • Ascariasis / immunology*
  • Ascaris lumbricoides / immunology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Cell Count
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eosinophils / cytology
  • Female
  • Interleukin-10 / deficiency
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Strongylida Infections / complications
  • Strongylida Infections / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-10