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Exp Parasitol. 1991 May;72(4):391-402.

Trypanosoma cruzi: cytokine effects on macrophage trypanocidal activity.

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University of Georgia, Zoology Department, Athens 30602.


Mouse macrophages infected with Trypanosoma cruzi in vitro may be activated to reduce parasite infection by interferon gamma (IFN-gamma). The addition of up to 10,000 units of IFN-gamma however, does not result in a 100% reduction of intracellular parasites. We, therefore, investigated the possibility that macrophages require an additional signal or signals to completely clear T. cruzi infection. Because the combination of IFN-gamma with lipopolysaccharide greatly enhanced macrophages ability to decrease the number of intracellular parasites, the interaction of IFN-gamma with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) was examined. TNF alone and the combination of TNF with IFN-gamma did not have a significant effect on reducing parasite numbers below that obtained with IFN-gamma alone. This was also true for lymphotoxin, a lymphokine similar to TNF in structure and function. The effect of IFN-gamma in combination with a cytokine-rich supernatant containing IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, and IFN-gamma on macrophage clearance of the parasite was also examined. The cytokine-rich supernatant alone had no effect on reducing parasite infection of the macrophages; indeed, in some experiments the addition of the supernatant resulted in an increase in the level of parasite infection. However, 1000 units of IFN-gamma combined with the complex cytokine mixture caused a decrease in parasite infection of nearly 100% compared to that of control cultures treated with media alone. To determine which cytokine or cytokines in the supernatant were responsible for this synergistic activity, anti-cytokine antibodies were added to the supernatant prior to its addition with IFN-gamma to the cultures. Anti-IL-4 was the only antibody found to inhibit the synergism of IFN-gamma with the cytokine-rich supernatant. IL-4, however, did not significantly enhance the ability of IFN-gamma to induce macrophage clearance of the parasite, and IL-4 alone caused a slight increase in parasite infection in vitro. These results further define the role that cytokines play in T. cruzi infection of macrophages in vitro and suggest that the interaction of cytokine networks within this system is complex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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