Researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom found that receptors on immune cells of the gut, signalling via a member of the interleukin-10 (IL-10) family, protect microbiota and gut lining from whipworms (Trichuris trichiura).

In the human gut, millions of bacteria (microbiota) and parasites inhabit. Cells lining the gut contain one of these parasites, whipworms; but immune cells help to control and expel them while preserving the gut barrier, thus preventing the penetration gut microorganisms into other organs. When whipworms affect the composition of microbiota, the way immune cells are activated and the condition of the gut lining change. These interactions are tightly regulated to avoid gut tissue damage and trichuriasis (whipworm infection).

The team of researchers used a mouse model to study these interactions, and they found out that gut immune cells regulate them by signalling via a member of the IL-10 receptor family (IL-10Rα).

The study, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens and led by María Duque-Correa, shows that the lack of IL-10Rα receptors on gut immune cells results on proliferation of whipworms in the gut and damage to the gut lining tissue. In turn, this damage causes overgrowth of microbes that act as opportunistic pathogens. Additionally, once the gut barrier is destroyed, gut bacteria can reach the liver causing organ failure.

Therefore, IL-10Rα signaling plays a key role in promoting microbiota homeostasis and maintaining the intestinal barrier during whipworm infections.

Our study reveals the master role of IL-10Rα in regulating the interactions between gut cells, the microbiota and whipworms that define the conditions for balanced parasitism. We discovered the absence of this crucial signalling pathway leads to uncontrolled inflammation that destroys the gut lining allowing microbes to invade and cause liver failure,” said the Wellcome Sanger Institute team of researchers.

 

Source: Sience Daily