Granuloma cytokines in murine cysticercosis

Prema Robinson, Robert L. Atmar, Dorothy E. Lewis, A. Clinton White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Neurocysticercosis, caused by Taenia solium, is one of the most common causes of seizures worldwide. The symptoms result from granulomatous inflammation associated with dying cyst forms of the parasite. Although the invasive larvae can be killed by immune serum plus complement, immunity to the cyst stage depends on a cellular response. This dichotomous immune response is reminiscent of the extremes of the immune response associated with T helper 1 (Th1) and Th2 cytokine profiles. To characterize the cytokine response in cysticercosis, granulomas were removed from the peritoneal cavity of mice infected with Taenia crassiceps cysts and examined for cytokine message by in situ hybridization using 35S-labeled RNA probes. The granulomas were staged based on histologic appearance of the degenerating parasite. Message for gamma interferon (IFN-γ) was identified by light microscopy in 11 of the 12 granulomas, and interleukin-2 (IL-2) message was identified in 9 of the 12. By laser scanning confocal microscopy, significantly increased IFN-γ and IL-2 pixel intensity was identified in nearly all of the granulomas from early histologic stages. Message for IL-4 was seen in 6 of the 12 granulomas. Only granulomas with complete destruction of the parasite architecture displayed more than minimal amounts of IL-4 message by light microscopy, and only 2 of 12 granulomas had IL-4 pixel intensity significantly above background. Only minimal amounts of IL-10 message were detected in 4 of 11 granulomas. Thus, early granulomas in cysticercosis are predominantly associated with a Th1 response, whereas later granulomas, in which parasite destruction is complete, have a mixture of Th1 and IL-4. The Th1 response appears to play an important rule both in the pathogenesis of disease as well as in the clearing of the parasites, with IL- 4 involved in downregulation of the initial response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2925-2931
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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