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J Neuroimmunol. 1992 Dec;41(2):143-8.

Correlation of autoantibody titres with central nervous system pathology in experimental African trypanosomiasis.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK.


CD-1 mice infected with the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei brucei developed few signs of central nervous system pathology associated with the invasion of the central nervous system by these parasites and did not survive beyond 5-6 weeks with deaths common before this time point. However, use of the trypanocidal drug diminazene aceturate (40 mg/kg), which fails to cross the blood-brain barrier, on day 21 post-infection led to the development of central nervous system pathology similar to that seen in the fatal post-treatment reactive encephalopathies that can occur in human African trypanosomiasis. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to measure autoantibody titres to double-stranded DNA, myelin basic protein and to the myelin-specific galactocerebrosides and gangliosides in groups of infected mice, with or without the post-treatment reaction, on day 30 post-infection and compared with uninfected controls. Infection with T. brucei brucei raised the titres of all of these autoantibodies. Treatment of infected mice with diminazene aceturate resulted in elevated levels of all of these autoantibodies compared to the untreated animals. There was a strong positive correlation between the central nervous system pathology and the levels of autoantibodies to myelin basic protein, galactocerebrosides and gangliosides, but not to double-stranded DNA. The elevated titres observed may be a consequence of the polyclonal B cell activation that is believed to occur in African trypanosomiasis, parasite epitopes that are cross-reactive with these central nervous system (CNS)-specific antigens or result from the CNS damage associated with sub-curative chemotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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