ID Lelystad, Institute for Animal Science and Health
Refereed Article in a scientific journal
We investigated the immune effector mechanisms that underlie protection against F. hepatica in the gut wall of immune rats, using (immuno)histochemistry. In the lamina propria of immune Wistar rats, four weeks after oral infection, frequencies of IgE-positive cells, eosinophils and mucosal mast cells were significantly increased, compared with naïve rats. These factors represent the traditional effector mechanisms against helminths. No significant differences were detected between the two groups in frequencies of IgM-, IgG2a-, IgG1- and IgA- positive cells, CD4- and CD8-positive cells, NK cells, macrophages, neutrophils or goblet cells. Upon challenge of immune rats with F. hepatica in an ex vivo gut segment, NEJs that migrated through the (sub)mucosa were coated with IgG1 and IgG2a antibodies and surrounded by eosinophils. No IgE or IgA antibodies were detected on the parasites. The onset of these immune effector responses, two h after challenge, was related to the expression of protection. These results suggest that NEJs are killed by an eosinophil-mediated cytotoxic response involving IgG antibodies. These antibodies were not produced in the intestine, but infiltrated the gut upon challenge. The observed immune effector responses were not restricted to the site where the primary infection is located, namely the small intestine, but were also detected in the large intestine. The presence of the protective immune mechanisms in two other rat strains demonstrates the pivotal importance of these responses, irrespective the genetic background of the host.
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