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Parasite Immunol. 2005 Sep;27(9):317-24.

Co-infected C57BL/6 mice mount appropriately polarized and compartmentalized cytokine responses to Litomosoides sigmodontis and Leishmania major but disease progression is altered.

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1
Institutes of Evolution, Immunology, & Infection Research, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Abstract

This study examines the capacity of the mammalian host to fully compartmentalize the response to infection with type 1 vs. type 2 inducing organisms that infect different sites in the body. For this purpose, C57BL/6 mice were infected with the rodent filarial nematode Litomosoides sigmodontis followed by footpad infection with the protozoan parasite Leishmania major. In this host, nematode infection is established in the thoracic cavity but no microfilariae circulate in the bloodstream. We utilized quantitative ELISPOT analysis of IL-4 and IFN-gamma producing cells to assess cytokine bias and response magnitude in the lymph nodes draining the sites of infection as well as more systemic responses in the spleen and serum. Contrary to other systems where co-infection has a major impact on bias, cytokine ratios were unaltered in either local lymph node. The most notable effect of co-infection was an unexpected increase in the magnitude of the IFN-gamma response to L. major in mice previously infected with L. sigmodontis. Further, lesion development was significantly delayed in these mice. Thus, despite the ability of the immune system to appropriately compartmentalize the immune response, interactions between responses at distinct infection sites can alter disease progression.

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