Homeostasis is a fundamental principle of biological systems. A paradigm of immune homeostasis is the remarkably constant number of naive T and B lymphocytes in the body that continuously circulate through the secondary lymphoid organs to maximize immune surveillance. Whether the dynamics and distribution of the systemic naive lymphocyte pool is affected following organ-specific infection is not known. Here we show that, following infection of mice with an enteric helminth, naive T and B lymphocytes accumulate in the T helper type 2-reactive mesenteric lymph node while they are concurrently depleted from non-draining peripheral lymph nodes. This systemic redistribution of naive lymphocytes is sustained into the chronic phase of the infection, requires lymphotoxin beta receptor-dependent signals and is associated with a reduced ability of parasitized animals to mount antigen-specific cellular and humoral immune responses to heterologous immunization or infection at peripheral sites. Our data suggest that the function of the homeostatic naive lymphocyte pool can be modulated by its systemic distribution following infection and may provide a novel concept underlying compromised immune responsiveness at peripheral sites in helminth-infected individuals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy