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Vet Res. 2002 May-Jun;33(3):261-70.

Early hepatic immune response in rats infected with Fasciola hepatica.

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Unité de Pathologie Aviaire et Parasitologie, INRA, Nouzilly, France.


We investigated the phenotype of the T cells (CD4+ and CD8+) that produced Th1 (IFN-gamma) and Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) during the firsttwo weeks of experimental fasciolosis in rats. We also followed the kinetics of the cytokine and proliferative responses of hepatic mononuclear cells (HMNC) over the same period. We found that HMNC were more numerous in the infected animals than in the controls. The percentage of CD4+ cells increased significantly after infection, whereas the percentage of CD8+ cells did not change. Moreover, the frequency of the cells producing (CP) cytokine changed after infection. The frequency of CP IFN-gamma on 7 days postinfection (pi) was similar to that in control animals. However, the frequency of CP IFN-gamma was clearly lower on day 14 pi, whereas the frequency of CP IL-4 and CP IL-10 had increased. The CP IL-10-were mostly CD4+. Mitogenic stimulation (phorbol myristate acetate/ionomycin) of HMNC led to an increase in the amounts of the Th2 cytokines in the supernatant on days 7 and 14 pi, with the increase more pronounced on day 14. In contrast, IFN-gamma levels also increased by day 7 pi but then decreased to below control levels by day 14. In addition, HMNC proliferation in response to mitogen followed a similar pattern to IFN-gamma production. These findings suggested that, during the first 2 weeks of infection, F hepatica induced a transient ThO cytokine profile followed by downregulation of the cellular response and the induction of a Th2 cytokine profile.

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