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Parasite Immunol. 2004 May;26(5):229-36.

IL-10 is not required to prevent immune hyperactivity during memory responses to Toxoplasma gondii.

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  • 1School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Primary infection of IL-10 knockout (KO) mice with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii leads to a CD4(+)-T-cell dependent shock-like reaction with high systemic levels of IL-12 and IFN-gamma, severe liver pathology and death of mice. In the present study, this immune-mediated pathology was prevented by treatment of IL-10 KO mice with the anti-parasitic drug sulfadiazine, allowing these mice to progress to the chronic phase of infection. To address the role of endogenous IL-10 in the regulation of secondary immune responses to T. gondii, IL-10 KO mice were infected with the avirulent Me49 strain of this parasite, treated with sulfadiazine for 2 weeks starting at day 3 p.i., and were rechallenged 6 weeks p.i. with RH, a highly virulent strain of T. gondii. In these studies, chronically infected IL-10 KO mice survived secondary infection with RH and controlled parasite load. Although serum levels of IL-12 and IFN-gamma were higher in IL-10 KO mice than in wild type (WT) mice 8 days after RH rechallenge, these levels were well controlled in the absence of endogenous IL-10, suggesting that IL-10 is not required to down-regulate cytokine production during the memory response. Antigen-specific ex vivo recall responses further revealed that splenocytes from chronically infected WT and IL-10 KO mice responded to parasite antigen with similar production of IL-12 and IFN-gamma, and there was also no significant difference in ex vivo production of these cytokines by splenocytes in response to parasite antigen 7 days after secondary infection with T. gondii. Furthermore, IL-10 KO mice immunized with the Ts-4 vaccine-strain of T. gondii were protected when rechallenged with the virulent RH strain. Together, these studies demonstrate that the inhibitory effect of IL-10, which is required to prevent immune-mediated pathology during primary infection, is not required to prevent immune hyperactivity during a secondary response to T. gondii, and a highly effective memory response is generated in the absence of endogenous IL-10.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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