Interleukin-5 is essential for vaccine-mediated immunity but not innate resistance to a filarial parasite

L Le Goff, P Loke, H F Ali, D W Taylor, J E Allen, Judith Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of protective immune mechanisms effective against filarial nematodes has been hampered by the inability of these important human pathogens to infect laboratory mice. Recently, Litomosoides sigmodontis, a natural parasite of rats, has been developed as a valuable model for the study of filarial infection. BALB/c mice are fully susceptible to infection with L. sigmodontis third-stage larvae and develop patent infection. In contrast, mice on the C57BL background are resistant, and parasites undergo only a single molt and do not mature to adulthood. We used interleukin-5 (IL-5)-deficient mice on the C57BL/6 background to address the role of IL-5 and eosinophils in the innate resistance of C57BL/6 mice. We found no differences in parasite survival between IL-5-deficient and C57BL/6 mice. However, when these mice were used for the analysis of vaccine-mediated immunity, a critical role for IL-5 was elucidated. Mice genetically deficient in IL-5 were unable to generate a protective immune response when vaccinated with irradiated larvae, whereas C57BL/6 mice were fully protected from challenge infection. These studies help to clarify the highly controversial role of eosinophils in filarial infection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2513-7
Number of pages5
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Animals
  • Filariasis
  • Filarioidea
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Interleukin-5
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Vaccines


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