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J Infect Dis. 2000 Feb;181(2):701-9.

Interferon-gamma expression in jejunal biopsies in experimental human cryptosporidiosis correlates with prior sensitization and control of oocyst excretion.

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Infectious Diseases Section, Dept. of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030.


To investigate the role of interferon (IFN)-gamma in human cryptosporidiosis, jejunal biopsies from experimentally infected volunteers and chronically infected AIDS patients were examined for IFN-gamma expression by in situ hybridization. IFN-gamma expression was compared with oocyst excretion, baseline serum anti-Cryptosporidium antibody, and symptoms. IFN-gamma mRNA was detected in biopsies from 13 of 26 volunteers after experimental infection but not in biopsies taken before C. parvum exposure or in biopsies from patients with AIDS-associated cryptosporidiosis. After challenge, 9 of 10 volunteers with baseline C. parvum antibody produced IFN-gamma, compared with 4 of 16 volunteers without baseline antibody (P<.01). Furthermore, IFN-gamma mRNA was detected in 9 of 13 volunteers who did not excrete oocysts, compared with 4 of 13 with organisms (P<.05). Thus, expression of IFN-gamma in the jejunum was associated with prior sensitization and absence of oocyst shedding. IFN-gamma production may explain the resistance to infection noted in sensitized persons but may not be involved in control of human primary infection.

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