IL-12-mediated type 1 inflammation confers host protection against the parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. However, production of IFN-γ, another type 1 inflammatory cytokine, also drives lethality from excessive injury to the intestinal epithelium. As mechanisms that restore epithelial barrier function following infection remain poorly understood, this study investigated the role of trefoil factor 2 (TFF2), a well-established regulator of mucosal tissue repair. Paradoxically, TFF2 antagonized IL-12 release from dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages, which protected TFF2-deficient (TFF2 -/-) mice from T. gondii pathogenesis. Dysregulated intestinal homeostasis in naive TFF2-/- mice correlated with increased IL-12/23p40 levels and enhanced T cell recruitment at baseline. Infected TFF2-/- mice displayed low rates of parasite replication and reduced gut immunopathology, whereas wild-type (WT) mice experienced disseminated infection and lethal ileitis. p38 MAPK activation and IL-12p70 production was more robust from TFF2-/-CD8+ DC compared with WT CD8 + DC and treatment of WT DC with rTFF2 suppressed TLR-induced IL-12/23p40 production. Neutralization of IFN-γ and IL-12 in TFF2 -/- animals abrogated resistance shown by enhanced parasite replication and infection-induced morbidity. Hence, TFF2 regulated intestinal barrier function and type 1 cytokine release from myeloid phagocytes, which dictated the outcome of oral T. gondii infection in mice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy