Filarial extract of Litomosoides sigmodontis induces a type 2 immune response and attenuates plaque development in hyperlipidemic ApoE-knockout mice

FASEB J. 2019 May;33(5):6497-6513. doi: 10.1096/fj.201800947RR. Epub 2019 Feb 26.


A type 1 immune response is involved in atherosclerosis progression, whereas the role of a type 2 polarization, especially with regard to an enhanced T helper (Th)2 cell differentiation, is still unclear. Helminths trigger type 2 immune responses, protecting the host from inflammatory disorders. We investigated whether an increased type 2 polarization by administration of Litomosoides sigmodontis adult worm extract (LsAg) affects atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE-/-) mice. Injections of 50 µg LsAg, i.p. into ApoE-/- mice induced a type 2 immune response shown by increased frequencies of peritoneal eosinophils and alternatively activated macrophages. To analyze the effect of LsAg on atherosclerosis initiation, ApoE-/- mice received a high-fat diet for 12 wk and weekly injections of 50 µg LsAg from wk 5 to 12. Therapeutic effects on advanced atherosclerosis were analyzed in mice that were fed a high-fat diet for 12 wk followed by 12 wk of normal chow and weekly LsAg injections. Both preventive and therapeutic LsAg application significantly decreased plaque size. Therapeutic treatment even caused regression of plaque size and macrophage density in the aortic root and reduced Th1-specific gene expression and intraplaque inflammation. In addition, plaque size after therapeutic treatment was inversely correlated with plaque-infiltrated alternatively activated macrophages. In vitro, LsAg treatment of HUVECs reduced intracellular levels of phosphorylated NF-κB-p65, IκB-α, and JNK1/2. In bifurcation flow-through slides, THP-1 cell adhesion to a HUVEC monolayer was decreased by LsAg in regions of nonuniform shear stress. Applying inhibitors of the respective kinases suggests JNK1/2 inhibition is involved in the suppressed cell adhesion. A switch to an enhanced type 2 immune response by LsAg exerts antiatherogenic effects on murine plaque development, indicating a protective role of a hampered type 1 polarization. In vitro, LsAg affects endothelial signaling pathways, among which JNK1/2 inhibition seems to be involved in the suppression of monocytic cell adhesion under proatherogenic shear stress.-Constanze, K., Tauchi, M., Furtmair, R., Urschel, K., Raaz-Schrauder, D., Neumann, A.-L., Frohberger, S. J., Hoerauf, A., Regus, S., Lang, W., Sagban, T. A., Stumpfe, F. M., Achenbach, S., Hübner, M. P., Dietel, B. Filarial extract of Litomosoides sigmodontis induces a type 2 immune response and attenuates plaque development in hyperlipidemic ApoE-knockout mice.

Keywords: JNK; atherosclerosis; endothelial activation; helminth; inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / chemically induced
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Atherosclerosis / genetics
  • Atherosclerosis / immunology
  • Complex Mixtures* / chemistry
  • Complex Mixtures* / pharmacology
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Filarioidea / chemistry*
  • Hyperlipidemias / chemically induced
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Hyperlipidemias / genetics
  • Hyperlipidemias / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout, ApoE
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / chemically induced
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / drug therapy*
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / pathology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Complex Mixtures
  • Dietary Fats