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Nature. 1992 Mar 26;356(6367):338-40.

Susceptibility of beta 2-microglobulin-deficient mice to Trypanosoma cruzi infection.

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Department of Zoology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.


The beta 2-microglobulin (beta 2m) protein associates with the products of the class I major histocompatibility (MHC) loci; this combination functions in the thymic development of and antigen presentation to CD8+ T cells. Mice in which the beta 2m gene has been disrupted by homologous recombination fail to express class I MHC gene products, and therefore lack CD8+ T cells and measurable cytotoxic T-cell responses. However, beta 2m- mice appear to have normal development of both CD4+ alpha/beta T-cell receptor (TCR+) and gamma/delta TCR+ T cells and are not overtly more susceptible than beta 2m+ mice to potential environmental agents of infection or to experimental viral infection. Here we show that beta 2m- mice suffer high parasitaemias and early death when infected with the obligate cytoplasmic protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Despite this increased susceptibility, the beta 2m- mice are more responsive than their beta 2m+ littermates in terms of lymphokine production, making higher levels of both interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma in response to mitogen stimulation. In addition, the beta 2m- mice show essentially no inflammatory response in parasite-infected tissues. These results confirm previous experiments on mice depleted of CD8+ cells using antibody treatment in demonstrating the importance of CD8+ T cells in immune protection in T. cruzi infection. They also implicate CD8+ T cells and/or class I MHC molecules in regulation of lymphokine production and recruitment of inflammatory cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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