CD4+ T cell response in early erythrocytic stage malaria: Plasmodium berghei infection in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice
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- Shibui, A., Hozumi, N., Shiraishi, C. et al. Parasitol Res (2009) 105: 281. doi:10.1007/s00436-009-1435-8
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Plasmodium berghei ANKA causes lethal malaria in mice. It is well established that C57BL/6 mice die early with fulminant symptoms including convulsion, whereas BALB/c mice survive this phase and die later of anemia and prostration. Early death in C57BL/6 mice has been considered to result from the adverse effects of inflammatory cytokines. To elucidate the CD4+ T cell responses in early death due to severe malaria, the kinetics of CD4+ T cells were compared by analyzing cell surface markers and the production of cytokines and transcription factors. The results revealed that cytokine production by CD4+ T cells was induced as early as 5 days after infection and the maintenance of higher levels of IL-4 and IL-10 may be associated with the protection of BALB/c mice from early death. These results suggest that parasite control in the early phase of infection may be important for the development of an effective vaccine.