Intestinal epithelial tuft cell induction is negated by a murine helminth and its secreted products

Claire Drurey, Håvard T. Lindholm, Gillian Coakley, Marta Campillo Poveda, Stephan Löser, Rory Doolan, François Gerbe, Philippe Jay, Nicola Harris, Menno J. Oudhoff, Rick M. Maizels

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Helminth parasites are adept manipulators of the immune system, using multiple strategies to evade the host type 2 response. In the intestinal niche, the epithelium is crucial for initiating type 2 immunity via tuft cells, which together with goblet cells expand dramatically in response to the type 2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-13. However, it is not known whether helminths modulate these epithelial cell populations. In vitro, using small intestinal organoids, we found that excretory/secretory products (HpES) from Heligmosomoides polygyrus blocked the effects of IL-4/13, inhibiting tuft and goblet cell gene expression and expansion, and inducing spheroid growth characteristic of fetal epithelium and homeostatic repair. Similar outcomes were seen in organoids exposed to parasite larvae. In vivo, H. polygyrus infection inhibited tuft cell responses to heterologous Nippostrongylus brasiliensis infection or succinate, and HpES also reduced succinate-stimulated tuft cell expansion. Our results demonstrate that helminth parasites reshape their intestinal environment in a novel strategy for undermining the host protective response.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20211140
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021

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