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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

The Chymase Mouse Mast Cell Protease-4 Regulates Intestinal Cytokine Expression in Mature Adult Mice Infected with Giardia intestinalis

Li, Zhiqiang; Peirasmaki, Dimitra; Svaerd, Staffan; Abrink, Magnus


Mast cells have been shown to affect the control of infections with the protozoan parasite Giardia intestinalis. Recently, we demonstrated that Giardia excretory-secretory proteins inhibited the activity of the connective tissue mast cell-specific protease chymase. To study the potential role of the chymase mouse mast cell protease (mMCP)-4 during infections with Giardia, mMCP-4(+/+) and mMCP-4(-/-) littermate mice were gavage-infected with G. intestinalis trophozoites of the human assemblage B isolate GS. No significant changes in weight gain was observed in infected young (approximate to 10 weeks old) mMCP-4(-/-) and mMCP-4(+/+) littermate mice. In contrast, infections of mature adult mice (>18 weeks old) caused significant weight loss as compared to uninfected control mice. We detected a more rapid weight loss in mMCP-4(-/-) mice as compared to littermate mMCP-4(+/+) mice. Submucosal mast cell and granulocyte counts in jejunum increased in the infected adult mMCP-4(-/-) and mMCP-4(+/+) mice. This increase was correlated with an augmented intestinal trypsin-like and chymotrypsin-like activity, but the myeloperoxidase activity was constant. Infected mice showed a significantly lower intestinal neutrophil elastase (NE) activity, and in vitro, soluble Giardia proteins inhibited human recombinant NE. Serum levels of IL-6 were significantly increased eight and 13 days post infection (dpi), while intestinal IL-6 levels showed a trend to significant increase 8 dpi. Strikingly, the lack of mMCP-4 resulted in significantly less intestinal transcriptional upregulation of IL-6, TNF-alpha, IL-25, CXCL2, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-10 in the Giardia-infected mature adult mice, suggesting that chymase may play a regulatory role in intestinal cytokine responses.


mast cell; chymase; mMCP-4; infection; Giardia intestinalis

Published in

2020, Volume: 9, number: 4, article number: 925
Publisher: MDPI