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Open Access Protection from Cryptosporidium parvumInfection by  T Cells in Mice that Lack α T Cells

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Background and Purpose: Cryptosporidium parvum establishes a parasitic relationship with epithelial cells of the intestine. Infection with this protozoan is resolved in the immunocompetent host, but persistent life-threatening infection develops in the immunocompromised host. We propose that  T Cells in the intestinal mucosa play a role in immunity to C. parvum.

Methods: Intestinal intra-epithelial lymphocyte and lamina propria T-cell subsets were examined in mice infected with C.parvum. The mice are homozygous for a deletion of the TCR chain gene, TCR (-/-) and, therefore, lack conventional  T Cells, but retain a population of  T Cells with T-cell receptors. To examine the contribution of  T Cells to immunity, these mice were treated with monoclonal antibody GL3-3A, specific for this T-cell receptor, then were inoculated with C.parvum oocysts. Lymphocyte subsets and hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained intestinal sections from untreated mice were compared with those from mice treated with either a low dose of GL3-3A for 6 weeks, or a high dose of GL3-3A for 16 weeks.

Results: The proportion of  T Cells in the lamina propria increased in infected mice. In mice treated with a low dose of GL3-3A, a population of  T Cells that had characteristics of activated cells, was still evident 6 weeks after inoculation. No C.parvum developmental forms were identified in the intestinal sections of mice under these conditions. However, TCR (-/-) mice treated with a high dose of GL3-3A were depleted of  T Cells, and 50% of the mice were infected with C.parvum.

Conclusions: The  T Cells contribute to protection against C.parvum infection. In the absence of conventional  T Cells, activation of intestinal  T Cells may prevent infection with this organism.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-06-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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