The effects of T cell deficiency on the development of worms and granuloma formation in mice infected with Schistosoma japonicum
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It is widely accepted that the immune response of the host attacks the parasite and the parasite appears to develop strategies to evade the assault. However, there is increasing evidence that the development of a parasite may be also positively influenced by the immune response of host. In this paper, we explore the effects of T cell deficiency on the development of the worms and granuloma formation in mice infected with cercariae of Schistosoma japonicum. T cell-deficient (nude) mice supported normal parasite survival and fecundity, but compared to normal mice delayed the worms’ development (length and female fecundity) until 28 days after infection. However, these differences equaled out at 35 and 42 days. The nude mice apparently suppressed the size of granuloma in the livers around the eggs of S. japonicum. The granulomas were composed predominantly of neutrophils but with significantly fewer eosinophils in nude compared to normal mice. In addition, hepatocyte necrosis occurred in the vicinity of granulomas in nude but not normal mice. This is consistent with egg-granuloma formation in the host being dependent on T-lymphocyte functions and shows that the effect of T cell deficiency on the development of the worms is transitory in S. japonicum.