Concurrent infection with Heligmosomoides polygyrus suppresses anti-Plasmodium yoelii protection partially by induction of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Treg in mice.Eur J Immunol 2009; 39(10):2822-30EJ
Malaria and intestinal nematode infection are widespread and co-infection frequently occurs. We investigated whether co-infected intestinal nematodes modulate immunity against co-existing malaria parasites. Infection of C57BL/6 mice with Plasmodium yoelii 17XNL (Py) was transient and self-limiting, but preceding infection with Heligmosomoides polygyrus (Hp), a mouse intestinal nematode, exacerbated malaria resulting in higher parasite burdens and poor survival of the mice. Co-infection with Hp led to reduced Py-responsive proliferation and IFN-gamma production of spleen cells, and higher activation of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Treg. In vivo depletion of Treg recovered anti-Py immunity and rescued co-infected mice from exacerbated malaria. However, we did not observe any obvious ex vivo activation of Treg by either Hp products or living worms. Our results suggest that intestinal nematodes moderate host immune responses during acute malaria infection by aggressive activation of Treg. Elucidation of the mechanisms of Treg activation in situ is a target for future analyses.