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Parasite Immunol. 2005 Jan-Feb;27(1-2):17-28.

Mucosal cytokine and antigen-specific responses to Cryptosporidium parvum in IL-12p40 KO mice.

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Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Decatur, Georgia, USA.


Studies of cellular immune responses to Cryptosporidium parvum have been limited in part by lack of suitable animal models. IL-12p40(-/-)mice are susceptible to initial infection with C. parvum but recover within 2 weeks, rendering the animals resistant to reinfection. Because the host responses that determine duration and severity of primary infection are not yet understood, we studied the cellular immune response to primary infection with C. parvum in IL-12p40(-/-)mice and also explored possible mechanisms for this response. Female IL-12p40(-/-)mice were inoculated with 10,000 oocysts. Uninfected age-matched mice served as controls. At different time intervals following exposure to oocysts, mice were sacrificed and their intestine, spleen, and mesenteric lymph node tissues were harvested. Cellular immune responses to C. parvum were characterized. Infection of IL-12p40(-/-)mice induced changes in the gene expression of the cytokines IFN-gamma, IL-4, IL-15, IL-18, TNF-alpha and TGF-beta during primary infection. There was also a significant increase in total numbers of lymphocytes and CD19/CD62L-expressing cells in mesenteric lymph nodes. These MLN cells exhibited increased antigen-specific proliferation and cytokine production (IL-6 and IFN-gamma) levels when stimulated in vitro. These observations delineate the cellular immune responses during acute C. parvum infection of the IL-12p40(-/-)mouse model.

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