Infection with gastrointestinal nematodes exerts profound effects on both immune and physiological responses of the host. Helminth infection induces a hypercontractility of intestinal smooth muscle that is dependent on the Th2 cytokines, IL-4 and IL-13, and may contribute to worm expulsion. Protease-activated receptors (PARs) are expressed throughout the gut, and activation of PAR-1 was observed in asthma, a Th2-driven pathology. In the current study we investigated the physiologic and immunologic regulation of PAR-1 in the murine small intestine, specifically 1) the effect of PAR-1 agonists on small intestinal smooth muscle contractility, 2) the effects of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis infection on PAR-1 responses, 3) the roles of IL-13 and IL-4 in N. brasiliensis infection-induced alterations in PAR-1 responses, and 4) the STAT6 dependence of these responses. We demonstrate that PAR-1 activation induces contraction of murine intestinal smooth muscle that is enhanced during helminth infection. This hypercontractility is associated with an elevated expression of PAR-1 mRNA and protein. N. brasiliensis-induced changes in PAR-1 function and expression were seen in IL-4-deficient mice, but not in IL-13- or STAT6-deficient mice, indicating the dependence of IL-13 on the STAT6 signaling pathway independent of IL-4.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy