Author(s): McDermott JR, Bartram RE, Knight PA, Miller HR, Garrod DR,
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Abstract We have investigated the influence of mast cells on the barrier function of intestinal epithelium during nematode infection. Trichinella spiralis infection induces a strong type 2 cytokine-mediated inflammation, resulting in a critical mucosal mastocytosis that is known to mediate expulsion of the parasites from the intestine. The host response to infection is also characterized by an increase in mucosal leakiness. We show here that intestinal epithelial permeability is markedly elevated during infection, with kinetics that mirror the adaptive immune response to primary and secondary infection. Furthermore, we have identified degradation of the tight junction protein, occludin, thereby providing a mechanism for increased paracellular permeability during helminth infection. We further demonstrate by using anti-c-kit antibody and IL-9 transgenic mice that mast cells are directly responsible for increasing epithelial paracellular permeability and that mice deficient in a mast cell-specific protease fail to increase intestinal permeability and fail to expel their parasite burden. These results provide the mechanism whereby mucosal mast cells mediate parasite expulsion from the intestine.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology