Leptin receptor mutation results in defective neutrophil recruitment to the colon during Entamoeba histolytica infection

Caitlin Naylor, Stacey Burgess, Rajat Madan, Erica Buonomo, Khadija Razzaq, Katherine Ralston, William A. Petri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Amebiasis is an enteric infection caused by Entamoeba histolytica, with symptoms ranging in severity from asymptomatic colonization to dysentery. Humans with the Q223R leptin receptor mutation have increased susceptibility to amebiasis, but the mechanism has been unclear. Using a mouse model expressing the mutation, we tested the impact of the Q223R mutation on the innate immune response to E. histolytica infection. The 223R mutation resulted in delayed clearance of amebae from the cecum, as had been previously observed. We found that neutrophil influx to the site of the infection was reduced 12 h after infection in 223R mice. Depletion of neutrophils with anti-Ly6G monoclonal antibody increased susceptibility of wild-type mice to infection, supporting the importance of neutrophils in innate defense. Leptin expression was increased in the cecum by E. histolytica infection, suggesting that leptin could serve as a homing signal for neutrophils to the gut. Interestingly, neutrophils from mice with the 223R mutation had diminished chemotaxis toward leptin. This impaired chemotaxis likely explained the reduced gut infiltration of neutrophils. The newly recognized effect of the leptin receptor Q223R mutation on neutrophil chemotaxis and the impact of this mutation on multiple infectious diseases suggest a broader impact of this mutation on susceptibility to disease.

IMPORTANCE The Q223R leptin receptor mutation results in increased susceptibility of children and adults to E. histolytica, one of the leading causes of diarrhea morbidity and mortality in children of the developing world. Here we show that the mutation results in reduced neutrophil infiltration to the site of infection. This decreased infiltration is likely due to the mutation’s impact on neutrophil chemotaxis toward leptin, an inflammatory agent upregulated in the cecum after infection. The significance of this work thus extends beyond understanding E. histolytica susceptibility by also providing insight into the potential impact of leptin on neutrophil function in other states of altered leptin signaling, which include both malnutrition and obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02046-14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 16 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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