Resistance to liver fluke infection in the natural sheep host is correlated with a type-1 cytokine response Academic Article uri icon


  • Indonesian thin-tail (ITT) sheep can resist infection with Fasciola gigantica but not F. hepatica and presents an ideal model to investigate the mechanisms of liver fluke resistance in a natural host. This study examines the local and systemic immune responses of sheep during Fasciola infection and demonstrates that different anatomical tissues display distinct cytokine profiles consistent with liver fluke migration. The study also reveals a significant difference in the cytokine and antibody profiles of ITT sheep infected with F. gigantica compared with F. hepatica, with a higher ratio of IL-4/IFN-γ mRNA expression and specific IgG1/IgG2 antibodies strongly correlating with pathology. Interestingly, the significant type-1 cytokine profile occurred in the lymph node closest to the site of infection at a time when the effective immune response against F. gigantica liver flukes is thought to occur. When the same F. gigantica infection in the resistant ITT sheep was compared with the susceptible Merino breed, the resistant type-1 phenotype against liver fluke infection was only observed in the ITT sheep. These studies provide the first evidence to suggest that the induction of an early type-1 immune response in this natural sheep host may be responsible for the ability to resist liver fluke infection.


  • Pleasance, J
  • Wiedosari, E
  • Raadsma, HW
  • Meeusen, E
  • Piedrafita, D

publication date

  • 2011