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J Infect Dis. 2007 Nov 15;196(10):1553-64. Epub 2007 Oct 31.

Toll-like receptor modulation of murine cerebral malaria is dependent on the genetic background of the host.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University, 300 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Infection with Plasmodium berghei ANKA is a well-established model of human cerebral malaria (CM). We show herein that Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling influences the development of lethal CM in P. berghei ANKA-infected mice. Modulation of outcome was dependent on genetic background, such that deletion of myeloid differentiation factor (MyD) 88 on the susceptible C57BL/6 background resulted in resistance to CM, whereas deletion of MyD88 on the resistant BALB/c background led to increased mortality. Our data show that MyD88 influenced the production of T helper-polarizing cytokines, including interferon (IFN)- gamma, interleukin (IL)-4, and IL-17, as well as the total number of Foxp3(+) regulatory T (T(reg)) cells in a manner dependent on host genetic background. In addition, mRNA levels of IFN- gamma, CXCL10, and CXCL9 were strongly up-regulated in the brains of susceptible wild-type but not MyD88(-/-) infected mice. These results suggest that TLR signaling and host genetic background influences the pathogenesis of CM via modulation of cytokine production and T(reg) cell numbers.

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