Intestinal helminth infection transforms the CD4+ T cell composition of the skin

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  • Cajsa H. Classon
  • Muzhen Li
  • Ada Lerma Clavero
  • Junjie Ma
  • Xiaogang Feng
  • Christopher A. Tibbitt
  • Julian M. Stark
  • Rebeca Cardoso
  • Emma Ringqvist
  • Louis Boon
  • Eduardo J. Villablanca
  • Antonio Gigliotti Rothfuchs
  • Eidsmo, Liv
  • Coquet, Jonathan
  • Susanne Nylén

Intestinal helminth parasites can alter immune responses to vaccines, other infections, allergens and autoantigens, implying effects on host immune responses in distal barrier tissues. We herein show that the skin of C57BL/6 mice infected with the strictly intestinal nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus contain higher numbers of CD4+ T cells compared to the skin of uninfected controls. Accumulated CD4+ T cells were H. polygyrus-specific TH2 cells that skewed the skin CD4+ T cell composition towards a higher TH2/TH1 ratio which persisted after worm expulsion. Accumulation of TH2 cells in the skin was associated with increased expression of the skin-homing chemokine receptors CCR4 and CCR10 on CD4+ T cells in the blood and mesenteric lymph nodes draining the infected intestine and was abolished by FTY720 treatment during infection, indicating gut-to-skin trafficking of cells. Remarkably, skin TH2 accumulation was associated with impaired capacity to initiate IFN-γ recall responses and develop skin-resident memory cells to mycobacterial antigens, both during infection and months after deworming therapy. In conclusion, we show that infection by a strictly intestinal helminth has long-term effects on immune cell composition and local immune responses to unrelated antigens in the skin, revealing a novel process for T cell colonisation and worm-mediated immunosuppression in this organ. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
JournalMucosal Immunology
Pages (from-to)257–267
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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