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Cell Immunol. 1985 Apr 15;92(1):163-71.

Participation of natural killer cells in the recovery of mice from visceral leishmaniasis.


After infection with the protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani, C57BL/6J bg/bg (beige) mice, which are deficient in natural killer (NK) activity, were unable to control splenic parasite loads relative to phenotypically normal C57BL/6J bg/+ and +/+ mice, particularly beyond 21 days of infection. When beige mice were injected intravenously with 2 or 3 X 10(6) syngeneic, cloned NK cells (NKB61B10 cell line), they displayed splenic parasite burdens which did not differ significantly from those of normal controls. In C57BL/6 +/+ mice rendered NK deficient by split-dose irradiation (four weekly, 200-rad doses of gamma irradiation beginning at 4 weeks of age) splenic and hepatic parasite levels were significantly higher than those in nonirradiated controls at 15 days of infection and beyond. In both sets of experiments, relative degrees of hepato- and splenomegaly were not sufficient to account for differences in parasite burdens among NK-deficient and normal mice. Taken together, the results of these experiments suggest that NK cells may contribute to parasite elimination during the acquired-resistance phase of L. donovani infection in mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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