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Infect Immun. 2010 Dec;78(12):5271-9. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00168-10. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Interleukin-17-mediated control of parasitemia in experimental Trypanosoma congolense infection in mice.

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Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


BALB/c mice are highly susceptible to experimental Trypanosoma congolense infections, whereas C57BL/6 mice are relatively resistant. Infected highly susceptible BALB/c mice die of systemic inflammatory response syndrome. Because interleukin-17 (IL-17) and Th17 cells regulate inflammatory responses, we investigated their role in the pathogenesis of experimental African trypanosomiasis in mice. We show that the production of IL-17 by spleen and liver cells and the serum IL-17 level increased after T. congolense infection in mice. Interestingly, infected highly susceptible BALB/c mice produced more IL-17 and had more Th17 cells than infected relatively resistant C57BL/6 mice. Paradoxically, neutralization of IL-17 with anti-IL-17 monoclonal antibody in vivo induced higher parasitemia in both the susceptible and the relatively resistant mice. Interestingly, anti-IL-17 antibody-treated mice had higher serum levels of alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase, and the production of IL-10 and nitric oxide by liver cells was markedly decreased. Moreover, recombinant IL-17-treated mice exhibited significantly faster parasite control and lower peak parasitemia compared to control mice. Collectively, these results suggest that the IL-17/Th17 axis plays a protective role in murine experimental African trypanosomiasis.

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