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Clin Exp Immunol. 2004 Dec;138(3):396-404.

Co-infection of malaria and gamma-herpesvirus: exacerbated lung inflammation or cross-protection depends on the stage of viral infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dartmouth Medical School, New Hampshire 03756, USA.


In order to study the interaction between a gamma-herpesvirus and malaria we established a co-infection model that involves infection of mice with murine gamma-herpesvirus (MHV-68) and Plasmodium yoelii non-lethal strain (PYNL). To investigate the interaction between acute malaria and the lytic stage of MHV-68, the timing of infections was chosen such that the peak virus and parasite burdens would be present at the same time. Under this condition, we observed significant mortality in co-infected mice and aggressive lung inflammation with a marked influx of neutrophils and megakaryocytes. If mice were latently infected with MHV-68 and then co-infected with malaria we noticed significantly less viral load and parasitaemia. Using MHC/peptide tetramer staining we found that acute malaria reduces the anti-MHV-68 CD8+ T cell response in the animals that develop severe disease. Our study provides important fundamental information, which will be of use when devising strategies to combat infections with more than one agent, a situation that often occurs naturally.

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