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J Leukoc Biol. 2001 Mar;69(3):387-96.

Alternative versus classical macrophage activation during experimental African trypanosomosis.

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Department of Immunology, Parasitology and Ultrastructure, Flemish Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, Free University Brussels (VUB), St-Genesius-Rode, Belgium.


The type I/type II cytokine balance may influence the development of different subsets of suppressive macrophages, i.e., classically activated macrophages (caMphi, type I) versus alternatively activated macrophages (aaMphi, type II). Recently, we showed that although mice infected with phospholipase C-deficient (PLC-/-) Trypanosoma brucei brucei exhibit a clear shift from type I to the type II cytokine production, wild type (WT)-infected mice remain locked in a type I cytokine response. In the present study, phenotype and accessory cell function of macrophages elicited during WT and PLC-/- T. b. brucei infection were compared. Results indicate that caMphi develop in a type I cytokine environment in the early phase of WT and PLC-/- trypanosome infection, correlating with inhibition of T cell activation triggered by a mitogen, a superantigen, or an antigen. In the late stage of infection, only PLC(-/-)-infected mice resisting the infection develop type II cytokine-associated aaMphi correlating with impaired antigen- but not mitogen- or superantigen-induced T cell activation.

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