Role of mast cells in the generation of a T-helper type 2 dominated anti-helminthic immune response

Biosci Rep. 2019 Feb 15;39(2):BSR20181771. doi: 10.1042/BSR20181771. Print 2019 Feb 28.


Mast cells are long-lived, innate immune cells of the myeloid lineage which are found in peripheral tissues located throughout the body, and positioned at the interface between the host and the environment. Mast cells are found in high concentrations during helminth infection. Using Kitw-sh mast cell deficient mice, a recently published study in Bioscience Reports by Gonzalez et al. (Biosci. Rep., 2018) focused on the role of mast cells in the immune response to infection by the helminth Hymenolepis diminuta The authors showed that mast cells play a role in the modulation of Th2 immune response characterized by a unique IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 cytokine profile, as well as subsequent robust worm expulsion during H. diminuta infection. Unlike WT mice which expelled H. diminuta at day 10, Kitw-sh deficient mice displayed delayed worm expulsion (day 14 post infection). Further, a possible role for mast cells in the basal expression of cytokines IL-25, IL-33 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin was described. Deletion of neutrophils in Kitw-sh deficient mice enhanced H. diminuta expulsion, which was accompanied by splenomegaly. However, interactions between mast cells and other innate and adaptive immune cells during helminth infections are yet to be fully clarified. We conclude that the elucidation of mechanisms underlying mast cell interactions with cells of the innate and adaptive immune system during infection by helminths can potentially uncover novel therapeutic applications against inflammatory, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases.

Keywords: Helminth; Mast cell; immune response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomass
  • Hymenolepiasis*
  • Hymenolepis diminuta*
  • Mast Cells
  • Mice
  • Rats