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Infect Immun. 1999 Jun;67(6):3128-32.

Tumor necrosis factor alpha is a key mediator in the regulation of experimental Trypanosoma brucei infections.

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Laboratory of Cellular Immunology, Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Brussels, Belgium.


In order to evaluate during experimental Trypanosoma brucei infections the potential role of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) in the host-parasite interrelationship, C57BL/6 TNF-alpha knockout mice (TNF-alpha-/-) as well as C57BL/6 wild-type mice were infected with pleomorphic T. brucei AnTat 1.1 E parasites. In the TNF-alpha-/- mice, the peak levels of parasitemia were strongly increased compared to the peak levels recorded in wild-type mice. The increased parasite burden did not reflect differences in clearance efficacy or in production of T. brucei-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG antibodies. Trypanosome-mediated immunopathological features, such as lymph node-associated immunosuppression and lipopolysaccharide hypersensitivity, were found to be greatly reduced in infected TNF-alpha-/- mice. These results demonstrate that, during trypanosome infections, TNF-alpha is a key mediator involved in both parasitemia control and infection-associated pathology.

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