[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neospora caninum is a coccidian parasite causative of clinical infections in a wide range of animal hosts. The maturation and activation of splenic conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) were studied here in BALB/c mice challenged intraperitoneal with N. caninum tachyzoites. The number of cDCs was found to decrease in the spleen of the infected mice 12 h and 2 days after the parasitic challenge, whereas at day 5 after infection it was significantly above that of mock-infected controls. In contrast, the number of splenic pDCs did not change significantly on infection. In the infected mice, both cell subtypes displayed an activated phenotype with upregulation of costimulatory and MHC class II molecules. This stimulatory effect was more marked at the earliest assessed time point after infection, 12 h, when a clear increase in the frequency of cDCs (CD8α+ and CD8α−) and pDCs producing interleukin-12 (IL-12) was also observed. N. caninum tachyzoites could be observed by confocal microscopy associated with sorted DCs. Overall, these results present the first evidence that both cDCs and pDCs mediate in vivo the innate immune response to N. caninum infection through the production of IL-12, a key cytokine for host resistance to neosporosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To study experimental Neospora caninum infection initiated at the gastrointestinal tract, Toll-like Receptor 4- and functional IL-12Rbeta2 chain-deficient C57BL/10 ScCr mice were challenged intragastrically with 5 x 10(6) N. caninum tachyzoites. All parasite-inoculated mice eventually died with disseminated infection. In contrast, immunocompetent BALB/c mice challenged with 1 x 10(7) N. caninum tachyzoites by the intragastric (i.g.) or the intraperitoneal (i.p.) route remained alive for at least 6 months. Expansion of splenic B- and T-cells, the latter displaying both activated and regulatory phenotypes, and increased levels of IFN-gamma and IL-10 mRNA were detected in both groups of infected BALB/c mice compared with non-infected controls, whereas in the Peyer's patches only IFN-gamma mRNA levels were found to be increased. Parasite-specific IgG1, IgG2a and IgA antibody levels were elevated in the sera of all infected mice, whereas increased N. caninum-specific IgA levels were detected in intestinal lavage fluids of i.g. challenged mice only. These results show that N. caninum infection can be successfully established in mice by i.g. administration of tachyzoites. They also show that the immune response elicited in i.g. or i.p. infected BALB/c mice, although conferring some degree of protection, was not sufficient for complete parasite clearance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C57BL/10ScCr mice, lack Toll-like receptor 4 and a functional Interleukin-12 receptor. Taking this into account, susceptibility of these mice to Neospora caninum infection was assessed comparatively to that of immunocompetent C57BL/10ScSn mice. C57BL/10ScCr mice inoculated intraperitoneally with 5x10(5)N. caninum tachyzoites showed a high susceptibility to this parasite. All infected C57BL/10ScCr mice were dead by day 8 post-infection whereas all control C57BL/10ScSn mice survived this parasitic challenge. Immunohistochemical analysis of infected C57BL/10ScCr mice showed N. caninum tachyzoites spread in the pancreas, liver, lung, intestine, heart and brain whereas no parasites were detected in similarly infected C57BL/10ScSn controls. The higher susceptibility of C57BL/10ScCr mice to neosporosis correlates with reduced interferon-gamma mRNA expression and increased IL-4 mRNA expression, comparatively to C57BL/10ScSn controls, detected in the spleen after the parasitic challenge. C57BL/10ScCr mice could thus be used as a new experimental model where to study immunobiological mechanisms associated with host susceptibility to neosporosis.