Echinococcus multilocularis: relationship between susceptibility/ resistance and liver fibrogenesis in experimental mice
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To analyze collagen and other matrix protein deposits in experimental alveolar echinococcosis as well as the expression of lysyl oxidase, the enzyme that initiates the first steps in the pyridinoline cross-linking of collagen, and to establish a relationship between resistance/susceptibility to Echinococcus multilocularis larval growth and fibrogenesis, we compared AKR/J mice (susceptible to E. multilocularis infection) with NMRI mice (resistant hosts) in this study. Collagen deposits in the lesions were evaluated using a colorimetric method; the nature of matrix proteins involved in the periparasitic fibrosis and lysyl oxidase expression were assessed using immunostaining on tissue sections. The results obtained in this sequential study confirm that fibrogenesis is an important aspect of the host immune reaction against parasitic development and that both the extent and the course of matrix protein deposition differ in the liver of susceptible and resistant mice, respectively. The long-lasting expression of α-actin and lysyl oxidase by host cells in NMRI mice suggests that in this resistant strain, fibrosis was not only more developed but also more highly cross-linked and, thus, less sensitive to collagenases than in susceptible mice. A very strong expression of lysyl oxidase by parasitic cells was observed in both strains of mice; the observation that E. multilocularis itself has a role in lysyl oxidase cross-linking of host collagens can be hypothesized and would be a new example of parasite-host interplay.
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