The fatty tissue around the intestines of mice can protect them from parasitic infections, a new study has found.
Research led by EARA member the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology and Epigenetics, with the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, the US Department of Agriculture, Washington University School of Medicine, Missouri, and the Van Andel Research Institute, Michigan, USA, studied mice infected with parasitic worms, called helminths.
Helminths can cause weakness and disease and are a global health problem - about 1.5 billion people are infected with soil-transmitted helminths worldwide.
The team saw that the fatty tissue around mice intestines stiffened upon infection, helping to expel the worms. The stiffening involves a special group of immune cells called T helper cells (or Th2) found in the fatty tissue.
Based on tissue analyses, the study in Science Immunology, also showed that Th2 are important for immunity against these parasitic infections in mice.