Intestinal helminth infection enhances bacteria-induced recruitment of neutrophils to the airspace

Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 31;9(1):15703. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51991-3.


Intestinal helminth infections elicit Th2-type immunity, which influences host immune responses to additional threats, such as allergens, metabolic disease, and other pathogens. Th2 immunity involves a shift of the CD4+ T-cell population from type-0 to type-2 (Th2) with increased abundance of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13. This study sought to investigate if existing gut-restricted intestinal helminth infections impact bacterial-induced acute airway neutrophil recruitment. C57BL/6 mice were divided into four groups: uninfected; helminth-Heligmosomoides polygyrus infected; Pseudomonas aeruginosa infected; and coinfected. Mice infected with H. polygyrus were incubated for 2 weeks, followed by P. aeruginosa intranasal inoculation. Bronchial alveolar lavage, blood, and lung samples were analyzed. Interestingly, infection with gut-restricted helminths resulted in immunological and structural changes in the lung. These changes include increased lung CD4+ T cells, increased Th2 cytokine expression, and airway goblet cell hyperplasia. Furthermore, coinfected mice exhibited significantly more airspace neutrophil infiltration at 6 hours following P. aeruginosa infection and exhibited an improved rate of survival compared with bacterial infected alone. These results suggest that chronic helminth infection of the intestines can influence and enhance acute airway neutrophil responses to P. aeruginosa infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Helminthiasis / immunology
  • Helminthiasis / microbiology
  • Helminthiasis / pathology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / immunology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / microbiology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / pathology*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / microbiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nematospiroides dubius / isolation & purification*
  • Nematospiroides dubius / pathogenicity
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Inflammation Mediators

Supplementary concepts

  • Intestinal helminthiasis