Helminth antigens counteract a rapid high-fat diet-induced decrease in adipose tissue eosinophils

Susan M. van den Berg, Andrea D. van Dam, Pascal J.H. Kusters, Linda Beckers, Myrthe Den Toom, Saskia van der Velden, Jan Van den Bossche, Irma van Die, Mariëtte R. Boon, Patrick C.N. Rensen, Esther Lutgens, Menno P.J. de Winther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brown adipose tissue (BAT) activation and white adipose tissue (WAT) beiging can increase energy expenditure and have the potential to reduce obesity and associated diseases. The immune system is a potential target in mediating brown and beige adipocyte activation. Type 2 and anti-inflammatory immune cells contribute to metabolic homeostasis within lean WAT, with a prominent role for eosinophils and interleukin (IL)-4-induced anti-inflammatory macrophages. We determined eosinophil numbers in epididymal WAT (EpAT), subcutaneous WAT (ScAT) and BAT after 1 day, 3 days or 1 week of high-fat diet (HFD) feeding in C57Bl/6 mice. One day of HFD resulted in a rapid drop in eosinophil numbers in EpAT and BAT, and after 3 days, in ScAT. In an attempt to restore this HFD-induced drop in adipose tissue eosinophils, we treated 1-week HFD-fed mice with helminth antigens from Schistosoma mansoni or Trichuris suis and evaluated whether the well-known protective metabolic effects of helminth antigens involves BAT activation or beiging. Indeed, antigens of both helminth species induced high numbers of eosinophils in EpAT, but failed to induce beiging. In ScAT, Schistosoma mansoni antigens induced mild eosinophilia, which was accompanied by slightly more beiging. No effects were observed in BAT. To study type 2 responses on brown adipocytes directly, T37i cells were stimulated with IL-4. This increased Ucp1 expression and strongly induced the production of eosinophil chemoattractant CCL11 (+26-fold), revealing that brown adipocytes themselves can attract eosinophils. Our findings indicate that helminth antigen-induced eosinophilia fails to induce profound beiging of white adipocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Endocrinology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Adipose tissue
  • Beiging
  • Brown adipocytes
  • Eosinophils
  • Helminth antigens
  • High-fat diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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