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Intestinal pathology during acute toxoplasmosis is IL-4 dependent and unrelated to parasite burden

Nickdel, M. B. and Lyons, R. E. and Roberts, F. and Brombacher, F. and Hunter, C. A. and Alexander, J. and Roberts, C. W. (2004) Intestinal pathology during acute toxoplasmosis is IL-4 dependent and unrelated to parasite burden. Parasite Immunology, 26 (2). pp. 75-82. ISSN 0141-9838

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The role of interleukin-4 (IL-4) during the course of Toxoplasma gondii infection was studied using IL-4-/- mice and their wild-type (WT) counterparts on a C57BL/6 background. Following oral infection with T. gondii tissue cysts an exacerbative role for IL-4 was demonstrated and IL-4-/- mice were found to be more resistant to infection than WT mice as measured by significantly reduced mortality. Furthermore pathology in the small intestine was less severe in IL-4-/- mice although conversely liver pathology was greater than in wild-type mice. Significantly, plasma IL-12 and IFN-gamma levels, which peaked at days 6 and 8, respectively, were higher in IL-4-/- mice. The exacerbatory role of IL-4 in the intestine was found by competitive RT-PCR not to be associated with increased parasite burdens but was related to comparative expression of IL-10.