Ascaris Suum Infection Downregulates Inflammatory Pathways in the Pig Intestine in Vivo and in Human Dendritic Cells in Vitro

Helene L.E. Midttun, Nathalie Acevedo, Per Skallerup, Sara Almeida, Kerstin Skovgaard, Lars Andresen, Søren Skov, Luis Caraballo, Irma Van DIe, Claus B. Jørgensen, Merete Fredholm, Stig M. Thamsborg, Peter Nejsum, Andrew R. Williams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Ascaris suum is a helminth parasite of pigs closely related to its human counterpart, A. lumbricoides, which infects almost 1 billion people. Ascaris is thought to modulate host immune and inflammatory responses, which may drive immune hyporesponsiveness during chronic infections. Using transcriptomic analysis, we show here that pigs with a chronic A. suum infection have a substantial suppression of inflammatory pathways in the intestinal mucosa, with a broad downregulation of genes encoding cytokines and antigen-processing and costimulatory molecules. A. suum body fluid (ABF) suppressed similar transcriptional pathways in human dendritic cells (DCs) in vitro. DCs exposed to ABF secreted minimal amounts of cytokines and had impaired production of cyclooxygengase-2, altered glucose metabolism, and reduced capacity to induce interferon-gamma production in T cells. Our in vivo and in vitro data provide an insight into mucosal immune modulation during Ascaris infection, and show that A. suum profoundly suppresses immune and inflammatory pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-319
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018

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