Goblet cell hyperplasia and mucin hypersecretion are important for the expulsion of the intestinal trematode, Gymnophalloides seoi, from mice. However, regulatory mechanisms underlying these processes remain elusive. To better understand the effects of G. seoi antigen on the host's intestinal epithelial cells, we determined whether G. seoi induces expression of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and mucin-related (MUC) genes on a human intestinal epithelial cell line (HT29 cells). We treated HT29 cells with G. seoi or other adult helminth antigens and measured mRNAs of TLRs and MUCs. We also performed reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and flow cytometry to determine whether TLR and MUC expression is regulated by interferon (IFN)-γ, interleukin-4, or monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against G. seoi 46 kDa antigen. Gymnophalloides seoi antigen significantly induced expression of TLR2 and MUC2 in HT29 cells, and IFN-γ was found to upregulate TLR2 expression on the surface of the cells. The expression of MUC2 was increased by IFN-γ, but was decreased significantly via the combination of mAbs-to-human TLRs and G. seoi antigen. These results demonstrated that G. seoi antigen upregulates TLR2 and MUC2 expression on human intestinal epithelial cells. These effects reflect a helminth-induced, IFN-γ–dependent, and innate mucosal immune mechanism in this human intestinal cell line.

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