Immune signatures of pathogenesis in the peritoneal compartment during early infection of sheep with Fasciola hepatica

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Scientific Reports, 2017, 7 (1)
Issue Date:
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© The Author(s) 2017. Immune signatures of sheep acutely-infected with Fasciola hepatica, an important pathogen of livestock and humans were analysed within the peritoneal compartment to investigate early infection. Within the peritoneum, F. hepatica antibodies coincided with an intense innate and adaptive cellular immune response, with infiltrating leukocytes and a marked eosinophilia (49%). However, while cytokine qPCR analysis revealed IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IL-23 and TGFβ were elevated, these were not statistically different at 18 days post-infection compared to uninfected animals indicating that the immune response is muted and not yet skewed to a Th2 type response that is associated with chronic disease. Proteomic analysis of the peritoneal fluid identified infection-related proteins, including several structural proteins derived from the liver extracellular matrix, connective tissue and epithelium, and proteins related to the immune system. Periostin and vascular cell adhesion protein 1 (VCAM-1), molecules that mediate leukocyte infiltration and are associated with inflammatory disorders involving marked eosinophilia (e.g. asthma), were particularly elevated in the peritoneum. Immuno-histochemical studies indicated that the source of periostin and VCAM-1 was the inflamed sheep liver tissue. This study has revealed previously unknown aspects of the immunology and pathogenesis associated with acute fascioliasis in the peritoneum and liver.
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