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1.  Antibody isotype analysis of malaria-nematode co-infection: problems and solutions associated with cross-reactivity 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:6.
Antibody isotype responses can be useful as indicators of immune bias during infection. In studies of parasite co-infection however, interpretation of immune bias is complicated by the occurrence of cross-reactive antibodies. To confidently attribute shifts in immune bias to the presence of a co-infecting parasite, we suggest practical approaches to account for antibody cross-reactivity. The potential for cross-reactive antibodies to influence disease outcome is also discussed.
Utilising two murine models of malaria-helminth co-infection we analysed antibody responses of mice singly- or co-infected with Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi and Nippostrongylus brasiliensis or Litomosoides sigmodontis. We observed cross-reactive antibody responses that recognised antigens from both pathogens irrespective of whether crude parasite antigen preparations or purified recombinant proteins were used in ELISA. These responses were not apparent in control mice. The relative strength of cross-reactive versus antigen-specific responses was determined by calculating antibody titre. In addition, we analysed antibody binding to periodate-treated antigens, to distinguish responses targeted to protein versus carbohydrate moieties. Periodate treatment affected both antigen-specific and cross-reactive responses. For example, malaria-induced cross-reactive IgG1 responses were found to target the carbohydrate component of the helminth antigen, as they were not detected following periodate treatment. Interestingly, periodate treatment of recombinant malaria antigen Merozoite Surface Protein-119 (MSP-119) resulted in increased detection of antigen-specific IgG2a responses in malaria-infected mice. This suggests that glycosylation may have been masking protein epitopes and that periodate-treated MSP-119 may more closely reflect the natural non-glycosylated antigen seen during infection.
In order to utilize antibody isotypes as a measure of immune bias during co-infection studies, it is important to dissect antigen-specific from cross-reactive antibody responses. Calculating antibody titre, rather than using a single dilution of serum, as a measure of the relative strength of the response, largely accomplished this. Elimination of the carbohydrate moiety of an antigen that can often be the target of cross-reactive antibodies also proved useful.
PMCID: PMC2838755  PMID: 20163714
2.  Plasmodium chabaudi limits early Nippostrongylus brasiliensis-induced pulmonary immune activation and Th2 polarization in co-infected mice 
BMC Immunology  2009;10:60.
Larvae of several common species of parasitic nematodes obligately migrate through, and often damage, host lungs. The larvae induce strong pulmonary Type 2 immune responses, including T-helper (Th)2 cells as well as alternatively activated macrophages (AAMφ) and associated chitinase and Fizz/resistin family members (ChaFFs), which are thought to promote tissue repair processes. Given the prevalence of systemic or lung-resident Type 1-inducing pathogens in geographical areas in which nematodes are endemic, we wished to investigate the impact of concurrent Type 1 responses on the development of these Type 2 responses to nematode larval migration. We therefore infected BALB/c mice with the nematode Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, in the presence or absence of Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi malaria parasites. Co-infected animals received both infections on the same day, and disease was assessed daily before immunological measurements were taken at 3, 5, 7 or 20 days post-infection.
We observed that the nematodes themselves caused transient loss of body mass and red blood cell density, but co-infection then slightly ameliorated the severity of malarial anaemia. We also tracked the development of immune responses in the lung and thoracic lymph node. By the time of onset of the adaptive immune response around 7 days post-infection, malaria co-infection had reduced pulmonary expression of ChaFFs. Assessment of the T cell response demonstrated that the Th2 response to the nematode was also significantly impaired by malaria co-infection.
P. c. chabaudi co-infection altered both local and lymph node Type 2 immune activation due to migration of N. brasiliensis larvae. Given recent work from other laboratories showing that N. brasiliensis-induced ChaFFs correlate to the extent of long-term lung damage, our results raise the possibility that co-infection with malaria might alter pulmonary repair processes following nematode migration. Further experimentation in the co-infection model developed here will reveal the longer-term consequences of the presence of both malaria and helminths in the lung.
PMCID: PMC3224723  PMID: 19951425
3.  IL-4 dependent alternatively-activated macrophages have a distinctive in vivo gene expression phenotype 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:7.
"Alternatively-activated" macrophages are found in Th2-mediated inflammatory settings such as nematode infection and allergic pulmonary inflammation. Due in part to a lack of markers, these cells have not been well characterized in vivo and their function remains unknown.
We have used murine macrophages elicited by nematode infection (NeMφ) as a source of in vivo derived alternatively activated macrophages. Using three distinct yet complementary molecular approaches we have established a gene expression profile of alternatively activated macrophages and identified macrophage genes that are regulated in vivo by IL-4. First, genes abundantly expressed were identified by an expressed sequence tag strategy. Second, an array of 1176 known mouse genes was screened for differential expression between NeMφ from wild type or IL-4 deficient mice. Third, a subtractive library was screened to identify novel IL-4 dependent macrophage genes. Differential expression was confirmed by real time RT-PCR analysis.
Our data demonstrate that alternatively activated macrophages generated in vivo have a gene expression profile distinct from any macrophage population described to date. Several of the genes we identified, including those most abundantly expressed, have not previously been associated with macrophages and thus this study provides unique new information regarding the phenotype of macrophages found in Th2-mediated, chronic inflammatory settings. Our data also provide additional in vivo evidence for parallels between the inflammatory processes involved in nematode infection and allergy.
PMCID: PMC117781  PMID: 12098359

Results 1-3 (3)