Il4ra-independent vaginal eosinophil accumulation following helminth infection exacerbates epithelial ulcerative pathology of HSV-2 infection.

Journal: Cell Host & Microbe

Published: 2021-04-14

DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2021.02.004

Affiliations: 15

Authors: 17

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Research Highlight

How tapeworms in the intestines can make a vaginal infection worse

© KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

© KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

A mechanism by which intestinal worm infections can compound vaginal infection by the herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) has been uncovered in mice.

Parasitic worms known as helminths infect the intestines rather than the vagina, but helminth infections have been associated with more severe HSV-2 symptoms in women. This is especially problematic in places like sub-Saharan Africa, where both infections are common.

Now, a team led by researchers from the University of Cape Town has identified a mechanism in mice that can explain how an helminth infection can make an HSV-2 infection worse despite occurring in a different organ.

They observed that helminth infections in mice increased the accumulation of disease-fighting white blood cells known as eosinophils in the vagina. This in turn enhanced scarring in the vagina on HSV-2 infection.

The team are looking for drugs that may be able to counteract this interaction between infections.

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  1. Cell Host & Microbe 29, 579–593 (2021). doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2021.02.004
Institutions Share
University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa 0.18
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway 0.18
University Hospital Bonn (UKB), Uni Bonn, Germany 0.15
University of Birmingham (UB), United Kingdom (UK) 0.14
Laboratory of Molecular and Experimental Immunology and Neurogenetics (INEM), France 0.08
University of Dundee, United Kingdom (UK) 0.06
Cardiff University, United Kingdom (UK) 0.06
University of Liège (ULg), Belgium 0.06
ICGEB Cape Town, South Africa 0.03
DZIF Partner Site Bonn-Cologne, Germany 0.03
Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), South Africa 0.01
Burnet Institute, Australia 0.01
Monash University, Australia 0.01