IL-22 Restrains Tapeworm-Mediated Protection against Experimental Colitis via Regulation of IL-25 Expression

PLoS Pathog. 2016 Apr 7;12(4):e1005481. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005481. eCollection 2016 Apr.


Interleukin (IL)-22, an immune cell-derived cytokine whose receptor expression is restricted to non-immune cells (e.g. epithelial cells), can be anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory. Mice infected with the tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta are protected from dinitrobenzene sulphonic acid (DNBS)-induced colitis. Here we assessed expulsion of H. diminuta, the concomitant immune response and the outcome of DNBS-induced colitis in wild-type (WT) and IL-22 deficient mice (IL-22-/-) ± infection. Interleukin-22-/- mice had a mildly impaired ability to expel the worm and this correlated with reduced or delayed induction of TH2 immunity as measured by splenic and mesenteric lymph node production of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 and intestinal Muc-2 mRNA and goblet cell hyperplasia; in contrast, IL-25 increased in the small intestine of IL-22-/- mice 8 and 12 days post-infection compared to WT mice. In vitro experiments revealed that H. diminuta directly evoked epithelial production of IL-25 that was inhibited by recombinant IL-22. Also, IL-10 and markers of regulatory T cells were increased in IL-22-/- mice that displayed less DNBS (3 mg, ir. 72h)-induced colitis. Wild-type mice infected with H. diminuta were protected from colitis, as were infected IL-22-/- mice and the latter to a degree that they were almost indistinguishable from control, non-DNBS treated mice. Finally, treatment with anti-IL-25 antibodies exaggerated DNBS-induced colitis in IL-22-/- mice and blocked the anti-colitic effect of infection with H. diminuta. Thus, IL-22 is identified as an endogenous brake on helminth-elicited TH2 immunity, reducing the efficacy of expulsion of H. diminuta and limiting the effectiveness of the anti-colitic events mobilized following infection with H. diminuta in a non-permissive host.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colitis / immunology*
  • Hymenolepiasis / immunology*
  • Hymenolepis diminuta / immunology*
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-4 / immunology
  • Interleukins / genetics
  • Interleukins / immunology*
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Knockout
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology


  • IL10 protein, mouse
  • Interleukins
  • Mydgf protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • interleukin-22