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J Parasitol. 1991 Dec;77(6):958-64.

Plasma levels of proteins of the alternative complement pathway in inbred mice that differ in resistance to Trypanosoma congolense infections.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.


Inbred BALB/c, A/J, and C57B1/6J mice were infected with Trypanosoma congolense (Trans Mara strain), clone TC13, and monitored for parasitemia, survival times, and plasma levels of complement components C3, C5, factor B, and factor H. Parasitemia was highest in BALB/c, intermediate in A/J, and lowest in C57Bl/6J mice. The mean survival times were 11.5 +/- 0.9, 23.8 +/- 2.3, and 119 +/- 26 days for BALB/c, A/J, and C57Bl/6J mice, respectively. Preinfection levels of factor H were significantly correlated with survival times (r = 0.7722, P less than 0.001). Marked differences were observed between the plasma levels of C3, factor B, and factor H in the 3 mouse strains following infection. Complement C5 levels showed the fewest changes. In the initial postinfection period, BALB/c mice had highest increases in the levels of the 4 complement proteins but also had the greatest declines toward the end of the infection. Factor H levels showed a biphasic increase in BALB/c and C57Bl/6J, but not in A/J mice, with peaks at days 3 and 9. Complement C3 levels declined in all mice toward the terminal stage of the disease. In the late stages of infection, factor B levels markedly decreased in BALB/c but significantly increased in C57Bl/6J mice. Factor B levels measured at the terminal stages in BALB/c, A/J, and C57Bl/6J were correlated positively with their respective survival times (r = 0.714, P less than 0.01). The results suggest that genetic differences in the alternative complement pathway might affect the resistance to T. congolense infections.

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