Intestinal helminth infection impacts the systemic distribution and function of the naive lymphocyte pool

Mucosal Immunol. 2017 Sep;10(5):1160-1168. doi: 10.1038/mi.2016.127. Epub 2017 Jan 25.


Homeostasis is a fundamental principle of biological systems. A paradigm of immune homeostasis is the remarkably constant number of naive T and B lymphocytes in the body that continuously circulate through the secondary lymphoid organs to maximize immune surveillance. Whether the dynamics and distribution of the systemic naive lymphocyte pool is affected following organ-specific infection is not known. Here we show that, following infection of mice with an enteric helminth, naive T and B lymphocytes accumulate in the T helper type 2-reactive mesenteric lymph node while they are concurrently depleted from non-draining peripheral lymph nodes. This systemic redistribution of naive lymphocytes is sustained into the chronic phase of the infection, requires lymphotoxin beta receptor-dependent signals and is associated with a reduced ability of parasitized animals to mount antigen-specific cellular and humoral immune responses to heterologous immunization or infection at peripheral sites. Our data suggest that the function of the homeostatic naive lymphocyte pool can be modulated by its systemic distribution following infection and may provide a novel concept underlying compromised immune responsiveness at peripheral sites in helminth-infected individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / parasitology
  • Lymphotoxin beta Receptor / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nematospiroides dubius / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / parasitology


  • Lymphotoxin beta Receptor

Supplementary concepts

  • Intestinal helminthiasis