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Scand J Immunol. 1988 Nov;28(5):573-82.

Role of T helper/inducer cells as well as natural killer cells in resistance to Trypanosoma cruzi infection.

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Department of Immunology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


T lymphocytes provide a major line of defence against many protozoan parasites. The aim of this work was to determine the role of T-cell helper/inducer subset (T h/i) in the resistance to Trypanosoma cruzi in a murine model. The importance of natural killer (NK) cells in the resistance to the parasite was also evaluated. BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were injected with either monoclonal antibodies against L3T4, Thy 1.2, NK1.1, or with a polyclonal rabbit antiserum against NK cells (anti-asialo GM-1). The effect of in vivo administration of these antibodies was tested in separate functional assays. After antibody treatment, mice were infected with a low dose of T. cruzi in the bloodstream form. Mice depleted of, or reduced in T, T h/i, or NK cell activity all developed higher parasitaemia and had higher mortality than their control counterparts. Mice injected with anti-L3T4 monoclonal antibodies were unable to generate a specific antibody response to the parasite. Treatment of mice with alpha/beta interferon, which is known to boost NK cell activity, resulted in an enhanced resistance to the parasite. Our data indicate that T h/i cells as well as NK cells are of vital importance in controlling parasitaemia and reducing mortality in T. cruzi-infected mice. Finally, we also demonstrate that the production of antibodies specific for T. cruzi is strictly T helper cell-dependent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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