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J Immunol. 1996 Aug 15;157(4):1620-4.

Participation of lymphocyte subpopulations in the pathogenesis of experimental murine cerebral malaria.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


We determined the requirement for selected lymphocyte subsets and cytokines in the pathogenesis of experimental murine cerebral malaria (CM) by using gene-targeted knockout and mAb-suppressed mice. Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection induced CM in A 0/0 mice, which lack expression of surface MHC class II glycoproteins and consequently express a severe and chronic reduction in numbers of CD4+ T cells. However, when A 0/0 mice, which are on a C57BL/6 x 129 genetic background, or immune-intact C57BL/6 controls treated with anti-CD4 mAb were infected, none developed CM. The latter finding confirms an earlier report that CD4+ T cells are required for CM to occur and additionally indicates that the reduced numbers of CD4+ T cells present in A 0/0 mice are sufficient for CM development. Neither the recently described CD4+, NK1.1+ T cell subset shown to be present in A 0/0 mice nor traditional NK cells seem to be required for the induction of CM because A 0/0 and C57BL/6 mice severely depleted of both NK1.1+ populations with mAb developed CM as readily as did normal Ig-treated controls. Deficiency of Th1-associated cytokines (IFN-gamma or IL-2) in mice by gene-targeted disruptions completely inhibited CM development, whereas the lack of Th2-associated cytokines (IL-4 or IL-10) did not prevent this disease. Our observation that B cell-deficient JHD and microMT mice developed CM provides evidence that neither B cells, their products, nor B cell Ag presentation are a requisite for CM pathology. We further observed that neither beta 2m 0/0 knockout mice, which lack CD8+ alpha beta T cells, nor C57BL/6 mice depleted of CD8+ T cells with anti-CD8 mAb treatment developed CM, leading us to conclude that CD8+ T cells are also crucial for the development of CM.

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