Hints on T cell responses in a fish-parasite model: Enteromyxum leei induces differential expression of T cell signature molecules depending on the organ and the infection status. Parasites & Vectors 11:443. doi.org/10.1186/s13071-018-3007-1
Enteromyxum leei is a myxozoan parasite that produces a slow-progressing intestinal disease. This parasite invades the paracellular space of the intestinal epithelium and progresses from the posterior to the anterior intestine. The aim of the present study was to gain insights into fish T cell responses in the gilthead sea bream-E. leei infection model using a PCR-array with 30 signature molecules for different leukocyte responses in head kidney, spleen, anterior and posterior intestine.
The PCR-array results suggest that E. leei induced migration of T cells from head kidney to intestines where TH1, CTL and TH17 profiles were activated and kept in balance by the upregulation of regulatory cytokines. These results were partially validated by the use of cross-reacting antibodies and BrdU immunostaining to monitor proliferation. Zap70 immunostaining supported the increased number of T cells in the anterior intestine detected by gene expression, but double staining with BrdU did not show active proliferation of this cell type at a local level, supporting the migration from lymphohaematopoietic tissues to the site of infection. Global analyses of the expression profiles revealed a clear separation between infected and exposed, but non-infected fish, more evident in the target organ. Exposed, non-infected animals showed an intermediate phenotype closer to the control fish.
These results evidence a clear modulation of the T cell response of gilthead sea bream upon E. leei infection. The effects occurred both at local and systemic levels, but the response was stronger and more specific at the site of infection, the intestine. Altogether, this research poses a promising basis to understand the response against this important parasite and establish effective preventive or palliative measures.