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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Equine enteroid-derived monolayers recapitulate key features of parasitic intestinal nematode infection

Hellman, Stina; Martin, Frida; Tyden, Eva; Sellin, Mikael E.; Norman, Albin; Hjertner, Bernt; Svedberg, Pia; Fossum, Caroline


Stem cell-derived organoid cultures have emerged as attractive experimental models for infection biology research regarding various types of gastro-intestinal pathogens and host species. However, the large size of infectious nematode larvae and the closed structure of 3-dimensional organoids often hinder studies of the natural route of infection. To enable easy administration to the apical surface of the epithelium, organoids from the equine small intestine, i.e. enteroids, were used in the present study to establish epithelial monolayer cultures. These monolayers were functionally tested by stimulation with IL-4 and IL-13, and/or exposure to infectious stage larvae of the equine nematodes Parascaris univalens, cyathostominae and/or Strongylus vulgaris. Effects were recorded using transcriptional analysis combined with histochemistry, immunofluorescence-, live-cell- and scanning electron microscopy. These analyses revealed heterogeneous monolayers containing both immature and differentiated cells including tuft cells and mucus-producing goblet cells. Stimulation with IL-4/IL-13 increased tuft- and goblet cell differentiation as demonstrated by the expression of DCLK1 and MUC2. In these cytokine-primed monolayers, the expression of MUC2 was further promoted by co-culture with P. univalens. Moreover, live-cell imaging revealed morphological alterations of the epithelial cells following exposure to larvae even in the absence of cytokine stimulation. Thus, the present work describes the design, characterization and usability of an experimental model representing the equine nematode-infected small intestinal epithelium. The presence of tuft cells and goblet cells whose mucus production is affected by Th2 cytokines and/or the presence of larvae opens up for mechanistic studies of the physical interactions between nematodes and the equine intestinal mucosa.


Equine; organoid; enteroid; enteroid-derived; monolayer; nematode; larvae; intestine; in vitro

Published in

Veterinary Research
2024, Volume: 55, number: 1, article number: 25
Publisher: BMC