Epidemiologic studies in humans have demonstrated that infection with helminth parasites is associated with a reduced risk of developing autoimmune diseases. Mechanistic studies in mice have linked the protective effect of helminths on autoimmunity to the suppressive activity of helminth-induced regulatory T cells (Tregs) or Th2 cells. In this study, we demonstrate that treatment of mice with Fasciola hepatica excretory-secretory products (FHES) attenuated the clinical signs of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Protection was associated with a significant reduction in the infiltration of pathogenic Th1 and Th17 cells into the brain. Although FHES enhanced anti-inflammatory cytokine and Th2 responses, protection against EAE was independent of IL-4, IL-10, and Tregs. However, administration of FHES induced production of the type 2 cytokines IL-33 and IL-5, which promoted accumulation of eosinophils. FHES-induced expansion of eosinophils and protection against EAE was lost in IL-33(-/-) mice and upon neutralization of IL-5. Furthermore, transfer of FHES-induced or IL-33-induced eosinophils conferred protection against EAE. In addition, treatment of mice with recombinant IL-33 attenuated autoimmunity, and this was dependent on IL-5. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report a role for helminth-induced IL-5 and IL-33 in protection against autoimmunity.
Copyright © 2016 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.