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Int Immunol. 2006 Mar;18(3):453-8. Epub 2006 Jan 13.

Prophylactic fenbendazole therapy does not affect the incidence and onset of type 1 diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Louisville, KY 40202, USA.


Fenbendazole (FBZ) is a common, highly efficacious broad-spectrum anthelmintic drug used to treat and limit rodent pinworm infections. However, the effect of its prophylactic use on the immune response of rodents is largely undefined. The non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse is a model commonly used to study type 1 diabetes (T1D). Parasitic infections will inhibit diabetes development in NOD mice; thus, in the presence of contamination, prophylactic treatment with anthelmintics must be considered to maintain experimental research. Herein, we investigated the prophylactic use of FBZ in NOD mice to determine its effect on the incidence and onset of diabetes, lymphocyte sub-populations and T cell proliferative responses. NOD mice were separated into control and treatment groups. The treatment group received a diet containing FBZ. Animals were monitored for the incidence and onset of T1D. At matched time points, diabetic and non-diabetic mice were killed and splenic lymphocytes analyzed for various cell sub-populations and mitogen-induced proliferative responses using flow cytometry. Treated and control mice were monitored >23 weeks with no detectable effects on the incidence or onset of diabetes. Moreover, no significant differences were detected in lymphocyte sub-populations and mitogen-induced CD4(+) and CD8(+) proliferative responses between control and treatment groups. These results suggest that prophylactic FBZ treatment does not significantly alter the incidence or onset of diabetes in NOD mice. The prophylactic use of FBZ, therefore, presents a viable approach for the prevention of pinworm infection in precious experimental animals with substantial scientific and economic benefits.

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