The retinoic acid-producing capacity of gut dendritic cells and macrophages is reduced during persistent T. muris infection

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Trichuris muris is an intestinal nematode that invades the colonic epithelium triggering a mucosal inflammation. Vitamin A and its active metabolite retinoic acid are strongly linked with the modulation of gut immune responses. Here, we describe the temporal changes in the expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) enzymes, responsible for converting dietary-absorbed vitamin A into the immuno-modulatory retinoic acid in lamina propria leucocytes post-infection. We show that ALDH enzymes are expressed by both colonic macrophages and dendritic cells. Further, during an on-going T. muris infection, ALDH expression is repressed from uninfected levels and only recovers to normal levels following expulsion of the parasite. These results suggest that local regulation of cellular levels of retinoic acid is an important component of infection-driven inflammation.

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