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Immunology. 2009 Sep;128(1 Suppl):e432-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2008.02995.x. Epub 2008 Dec 16.

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II but not MHC class I molecules are required for efficient control of Strongyloides venezuelensis infection in mice.

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Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


Strongyloides stercoralis is an intestinal nematode capable of chronic, persistent infection and hyperinfection of the host; this can lead to dissemination, mainly in immunosuppressive states, in which the infection can become severe and result in the death of the host. In this study, we investigated the immune response against Strongyloides venezuelensis infection in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I or class II deficient mice. We found that MHC II(-/-) animals were more susceptible to S. venezuelensis infection as a result of the presence of an elevated number of eggs in the faeces and a delay in the elimination of adult worms compared with wild-type (WT) and MHC I(-/-) mice. Histopathological analysis revealed that MHC II(-/-) mice had a mild inflammatory infiltration in the small intestine with a reduction in tissue eosinophilia. These mice also presented a significantly lower frequency of eosinophils and mononuclear cells in the blood, together with reduced T helper type 2 (Th2) cytokines in small intestine homogenates and sera compared with WT and MHC I(-/-) animals. Additionally, levels of parasite-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM), IgA, IgE, total IgG and IgG1 were also significantly reduced in the sera of MHC II(-/-) infected mice, while a non-significant increase in the level of IgG2a was found in comparison to WT or MHC I(-/-) infected mice. Together, these data demonstrate that expression of MHC class II but not class I molecules is required to induce a predominantly Th2 response and to achieve efficient control of S. venezuelensis infection in mice.

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