Surfactant Protein-D is essential for immunity to Helminth Infection

Author Summary Infections by parasitic worms are very common, and controlling them is a major medical and veterinary challenge. Very few drugs exist to treat them, and the parasites can develop resistance to these. In order to find new ways to control worm infections, understanding how our immune system responds to them is essential. Many important parasitic worm infections move through the host lung. In this study we show that a major secreted protein in the lung, Surfactant Protein D (SP-D), is essential for immunity to a parasitic worm infection. We found that this protein binds to worm larvae in the lung to help the immune system kill them. Infecting mice that do not express SP-D with worms demonstrates SP-D is important in this immune response. These mice are unable to launch an effective anti-worm immune response and have many more worms in their intestine compared to mice that do express SP-D. We also show that if we increase SP-D levels in the lung the mouse has better immunity to worms. Together this shows for the first time that SP-D is very important for immunity to worm infections.