Increased susceptibility to Haemonchus contortus infection by interleukin 5 modulation of eosinophil responses in sheep Academic Article uri icon


  • Eosinophils are prominent effector cells in immune responses against gastrointestinal nematode infections in ruminants, but their in vivo role has been hard to establish in large animals. Interleukin-5 is a key cytokine in the induction and stimulation of anti-parasitic eosinophil responses. This study attempted to modulate the eosinophil response in sheep through vaccination with recombinant interleukin-5 (rIL-5) and determine the effect on subsequent Haemonchus contortus infection. Nematode-resistant Canaria Hair Breed (CHB) sheep vaccinated with rIL-5 in Quil-A adjuvant, had lower blood eosinophil counts and higher mean worm burdens than control sheep vaccinated with Quil-A adjuvant alone. In addition, adult worms in IL-5-vaccinated sheep were significantly longer with higher eggs in utero in female worms, supporting an active role of eosinophils against adult parasites in CHB sheep. These results confirm that eosinophils can play a direct role in effective control of H contortus infection in sheep and offer a new approach to study immune responses in ruminants.


  • Hernández, Julia N
  • Meeusen, Els
  • Rodríguez, Francisco
  • Piedrafita, David
  • González, Jorge F

publication date

  • 2020