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Parasitol Int. 2011 Jan;60(1):45-53. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2010.10.002. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Intraperitoneal Echinococcus multilocularis infection in mice modulates peritoneal CD4+ and CD8+ regulatory T cell development.

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Institute of Parasitology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.


Intraperitoneal proliferation of the metacestode stage of Echinococcus multilocularis in experimentally infected mice is followed by an impaired host immune response favoring parasite survival. We here demonstrate that infection in chronically infected mice was associated with a 3-fold increase of the percentages of CD4+ and CD8+ peritoneal T (pT) cells compared to uninfected controls. pT cells of infected mice expressed high levels of IL-4 mRNA, while only low amounts of IFN-γ mRNA were detected, suggesting that a Th2-biased immune response predominated the late stage of disease. Peritoneal dendritic cells from infected mice (AE-pDCs) expressed high levels of TGF-β mRNA and very low levels of IL-10 and IL-12 (p40) mRNA, and the expression of surface markers for DC-maturation such as MHC class II (Ia) molecules, CD80, CD86 and CD40 was down-regulated. In contrast to pDCs from non-infected mice, AE-pDCs did not enhance Concanavalin A (ConA)-induced proliferation when added to CD4+ pT and CD8+ pT cells of infected and non-infected mice, respectively. In addition, in the presence of a constant number of pDCs from non-infected mice, the proliferation of CD4+ pT cells obtained from infected animals to stimulation with ConA was lower when compared to the responses of CD4+ pT cells obtained from non-infected mice. This indicated that regulatory T cells (Treg) may interfere in the complex immunological host response to infection. Indeed, a subpopulation of regulatory CD4+ CD25+ pT cells isolated from E. multilocularis-infected mice reduced ConA-driven proliferation of CD4+ pT cells. The high expression levels of Foxp3 mRNA by CD4+ and CD8+ pT cells suggested that subpopulations of regulatory CD4+ Foxp3+ and CD8+ Foxp3+ T cells were involved in modulating the immune responses within the peritoneal cavity of E. multilocularis-infected mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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