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Immunity-mediated regulation of fecundity in the nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus--the potential role of mast cells

, : Immunity-mediated regulation of fecundity in the nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus--the potential role of mast cells. Parasitology 137(5): 881-887

Previous studies have shown that host immunity regulates the fecundity of nematodes. The present study was aimed at clarifying the reversible nature of fecundity in response to changes of immunological status and to determine which effector cells are responsible for compromising fecundity in Heligmosomoides polygyrus. Enhanced fecundity was observed in immunocompromised SCID and nu/nu mice compared to those in the corresponding wild-type mice, with significantly fewer numbers of intrauterine eggs produced in the wild-type than in the immunodeficient mice. When 14-day-old adult worms from BALB/c mice were transplanted into naïve BALB/c mice, their fecundity increased significantly as early as 24 h post-transplantation, but not when they were transferred into immune mice, suggesting the plastic and reversible nature of fecundity in response to changes in host immunological status. In mast cell-deficient W/W(v) mice, nematode fecundity was significantly higher than in mast cell-reconstituted W/W(v) or +/+ mice. The serum levels of the mast-cell protease mMCP1 were markedly increased in the wild-type as well as the mast cell-reconstituted W/W(v), but not in the W/W(v), SCID, or nu/nu mice during infection. These findings raise the interesting possibility that certain activities of mast cells, either directly or indirectly, regulate parasite fecundity during infection.


PMID: 20025828

DOI: 10.1017/S0031182009991673

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