Differential immune responses in mice infected with the tissue-dwelling nematode Trichinella zimbabwensis
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To improve diagnostic tools, immunotherapies and vaccine development for trichinellosis surveillance and control there is a need to understand the host immune responses induced during infection with Trichinella zimbabwensis, a tissue-dwelling nematode. In this study, we sought to determine immune responses induced in mice during T. zimbabwensis infection. The parasite strain used (Code ISS1209) was derived from a naturally infected crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) and is the main Trichinella species prevalent in southern Africa. Sixty 6- to 8-week-old female BALB/c mice were randomly assigned to two equal groups: T. zimbabwensis-infected (n= 30) and the non-infected control group (n= 30). Levels of serum tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-10 (IL-10), interleukin-4 (IL-4) as well as parasite-specific IgM, IgG, IgG1, IgG2a, IgG2b and IgG3 antibody responses were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The cytokines and antibodies provided information on T-helper 1 (Th1)- and Th2-type, T-regulatory and antibody responses. Results showed that during the intestinal stage of infection, higher levels of parasite-specific IgM, IgG, IgG1 (P < 0.05) and IL-10 and TNF-α (P < 0.001) were observed in the Trichinella-infected group compared with the non-infected control group. In the parasite establishment and tissue migration phases, levels of IgG1 and IgG3 were elevated (P < 0.001), while those of IgM (P < 0.01) declined on days 21 and 35 post infection (pi) compared to the enteric phase. Our findings show that distinct differences in Th1- and Th2-type and T-regulatory responses are induced during the intestinal, tissue migration and larval establishment stages of T. zimbabwensis infection.
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