Introduction: The inverse correlation between prevalence of auto-immune disorders like the chronic neuro-inflammatory disease multiple sclerosis (MS) and the occurrence of helminth (worm) infections, suggests that the helminth-trained immune system is protective against auto-immunity. As monocytes are regarded as crucial players in the pathogenesis of auto-immune diseases, we explored the hypothesis that these innate effector cells are prime targets for helminths to exert their immunomodulatory effects.
Results: Here we show that soluble products of the porcine nematode Trichuris suis (TsSP) are potent in changing the phenotype and function of human monocytes by skewing classical monocytes into anti-inflammatory patrolling cells, which exhibit reduced trans-endothelial migration capacity in an in vitro model of the blood-brain barrier. Mechanistically, we identified the mannose receptor as the TsSP-interacting monocyte receptor and we revealed that specific downstream signalling occurs via protein kinase C (PKC), and in particular PKCδ.
Conclusion: This study provides comprehensive mechanistic insight into helminth-induced immunomodulation, which can be therapeutically exploited to combat various auto-immune disorders.