Awareness of the immunological underpinnings of host-parasite interactions may reveal immune signaling pathways that could be used to treat inflammatory disease in humans. Previously we showed that infection with the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, used as a model helminth, or systemic delivery of worm antigen (HdAg) significantly reduced the severity of dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS)-induced colitis in mice. Extending these analyses, intraperitoneal injection of HdAg dose-dependently suppressed dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis, and this was paralleled by reduced gamma interferon (IFN-γ), interleukin-17 (IL-17), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) production and increased IL-10 production from mitogen-activated splenocytes. Treatment with HdAg resulted in a CCR2-dependent recruitment of CDllb+ F4/80+ Ly6Chi Gr-1lo monocyte-like cells into the peritoneum 24 h later that were predominantly programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) positive and CXCR2 negative. In vitro assays indicated that these cells were unable to suppress T cell proliferation but enhanced IL-10 and IL-4 production from activated T cells. Adoptive transfer of the HdAg-recruited monocytic cells into naive mice blocked DSS-induced colitis. These findings add to the variety of means by which treatment with parasitic helminth-derived antigens can ameliorate concomitant disease. A precise understanding of the mechanism(s) of action of HdAg and other helminth-derived antigens (and a parallel consideration of putative side effects) may lead to the development of novel therapies for human idiopathic disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.
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