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Exp Parasitol. 2002 Apr;100(4):235-47.

Brugian infections in the peritoneal cavities of laboratory mice: kinetics of infection and cellular responses.

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The University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, 06030-3105, USA.


Standard, immunocompetent, inbred strains of mice are non-permissive for infection with the human filarial nematode, Brugia malayi or the closely related Brugia pahangi. This non-permissiveness allows one to address the mechanism(s) that might be used by mammalian hosts to eliminate large, multicellular, metazoan, extracellular invertebrate pathogens. We describe here the time course of intraperitoneal Brugian infections in naïve and primed +/+ mice from two commonly used, inbred laboratory strains (C57BL/6J and BALB/cByJ). We believe that this documentation of the course of infection in normal mice will serve as a reference for future studies using mice with gene-targeted immunological deficits or which have been pharmacologically or immunologically manipulated to manifest such deficits. Our data show that even though both strains of mice eliminate the parasite before the onset of patency, there are significant differences in the time course of infection and in the fractions of input larvae that can be recovered at any time after infection. In a secondary infection, the time course of elimination is accelerated. We examined the cells in the peritoneal cavity, the site of infection, by flow microfluorimetry using forward and side scatter properties and cell surface antigen expression using fluorescent antibodies. These studies reveal a complex cellular pattern, predominated by B lymphocytes, macrophages, and eosinophils. The most notable gross morphological findings at necropsy during the phase of elimination of the parasite are nodules of tissue containing larvae, which appear viable in some cases and undergoing various stages of disintegration in others. These nodules, which are histologically granulomas, are primarily composed of macrophages and eosinophils, with few if any lymphocytes. Transmission electron micrographs reveal that eosinophils can penetrate under the cuticles of the larvae and be seen in close approximation with internal structures. These granulomas may represent an important mechanism by which worms are eliminated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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