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J Immunol. 1998 Aug 15;161(4):1891-900.

IL-4 protects adult C57BL/6 mice from prolonged Cryptosporidium parvum infection: analysis of CD4+alpha beta+IFN-gamma+ and CD4+alpha beta+IL-4+ lymphocytes in gut-associated lymphoid tissue during resolution of infection.

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Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman 99164, USA.


Resistance of adult C57BL/6 mice to severe Cryptosporidium parvum infection is dependent on CD4+alpha beta+ TCR lymphocytes. In this study, we demonstrated that treatment with anti-IFN-gamma mAb extended oocyst excretion 18 days longer, and anti-IL-4 mAb extended oocyst excretion at least 11 days longer than isotype control mAb treatment. Analysis of the specific activity of anti-IFN-gamma mAb present in treated mouse sera suggested that IFN-gamma may have a limited role in the resolution phase of infection. Changes were also documented in numbers of CD4+alpha beta+IFN-gamma+ and CD4+alpha beta+IL-4+ lymphocytes in Peyer's patches and intraepithelium of adult C57BL/6 mice during resolution of C. parvum infection. Resistance to initial severe infection was associated with CD4+alpha beta+IFN-gamma+ lymphocytes, and eventual resolution of infection was associated with CD4+alpha beta+IL-4+ lymphocytes. Analysis of cytokine expression following in vitro stimulation with C. parvum Ags during resolution of infection demonstrated consistent increases in CD4+alpha beta+IL-4+ lymphocytes, but not CD4+alpha beta+IFN-gamma+ lymphocytes. The relevance of CD4+alpha beta+IL-4+ lymphocytes in protection against C. parvum was then evaluated in C57BL/6 IL-4 gene knockout mice (IL-4(-/-)). Adult IL-4(-/-) mice excreted oocysts in feces approximately 23 days longer than IL-4(+/+) mice. Further, anti-IFN-gamma mAb treatment increased the severity and the duration of infection in IL-4(-/-) mice compared with those in IL-4(+/+) mice. Together, the data demonstrated that IFN-gamma was important in the control of severity of infection, and either IFN-gamma or IL-4 accelerated termination of infection. However, neither IL-4 nor IFN-gamma was required for the final clearance of infection from the intestinal tract of adult mice.

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