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Title: The role of circadian rhythm in the immune response to Trichuris muris
Author: Otto, Sarah
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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Circadian rhythms have been implicated in severity and outcome of infection and disease. Commonly, LPS and bacterial infection have been used to identify the mechanisms behind the difference in immune responses depending on the time of day of the challenge. In this thesis, the colon dwelling nematode parasite Trichuris muris, which elicits a Th2 immune response in resistant mice, was used to identify if circadian rhythms influence infection outcome 3 weeks post infection. C57BL/6 mice infected with 200 eggs of T. muris at ZT0 (7am, lights on) expelled the parasite more efficiently than mice infected at ZT12 (7pm, lights off), which expelled with a delay of several days compared to ZT0 infected mice. Analysis of cell infiltration into the colon during the first days of infection suggested that there was no visible difference in the local immune response. There also were no differences in macrophage and dendritic cell numbers in colon tissue of naïve mice at ZT0 or ZT12. Further experiments examined immunomodulation of the immune response to T. muris by pushing the immune response towards a Th1, by low dose infection, or a Th2 response, by vaccination with excretory/secretory antigen. In both cases any circadian influence was overwritten. Mice infected at ZT0 or ZT12 with only 40 eggs of T. muris were equally susceptible to infection and mice infected at ZT3 10 days after vaccination at ZT0 or ZT12 were equally resistant to infection. Mice food restricted to mid-light phase and infected at ZT0 were not significantly delayed in their worm expulsion or polarised more towards a Th1 immune response compared to ZT0 infected mice fed during the dark phase. Therefore it is unlikely that feeding behaviour during the first days of infection is able to polarise towards a Th1 response and lead to delayed worm expulsion. Transgenic mice were used to dissect the mechanism underlying the delay in worm expulsion in ZT12 infected mice. mPer2::luc mice were used to confirm rhythmic Per2 expression in colon tissue and dendritic cells. Infection of mPer2::luc mice at ZT0 or ZT12 with T. muris showed similar worm expulsion, antibody and cytokine production when infected at ZT0 or ZT12. Bmal1floxLysMcre mice, which lack rhythmic clock gene expression in macrophages and granulocytes, produced a stronger Th2 antibody response in a primary infection at ZT3 than wild-type littermate controls. Newly generated mPer2::lucBmal1floxCD11ccre mice showed the no difference in worm burden and parasite specific antibody production between ZT0 and ZT12 infected mice. Only IL-10 and IL-6 levels were significantly lower in ZT12 infected mPer2::LucBmal1floxCD11ccre mice compared to ZT12 infected wild-type littermates. Confirmation of removal of exon 8 of the Bmal1 gene was not achieved; therefore it is not clear if circadian rhythm in dendritic cells has any impact on the immune response to T. muris or if the mPer2::LucBmal1floxCD11ccre mice and littermate controls both contain circadian rhythm in dendritic cells and therefore cannot be used to identify the role of the dendritic cell clock in the time of day differences in infection outcome. This thesis shows that time of day of the infection impacts on the outcome of infection with Trichuris muris.
Supervisor: Else, Kathryn; Ray, David; Loudon, Andrew Sponsor: GSK
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Trichuris muris ; Circadian rhythm