ABSTRACT: Neospora caninum is an intracellular protozoan pathogen that causes abortion in cattle. We studied how the interaction between murine conventional dendritic cells or macrophages and N. caninum influences the generation of cell-mediated immunity against the parasite. We first explored the invasion and survival ability of N. caninum in dendritic cells and macrophages. We observed that protozoa rapidly invaded and proliferated into these two cell populations. We then investigated how Neospora-exposed macrophages or dendritic cells distinguish between viable and non-viable (heat-killed tachyzoites and antigenic extract) parasites. Viable tachyzoites and antigenic extract, but not killed parasites, altered the phenotype of immature dendritic cells. Dendritic cells infected with viable parasites down-regulated the expression of MHC-II, CD40, CD80 and CD86 whereas dendritic cells exposed to N. caninum antigenic extract up-regulated the expression of MHC-II and CD40 and down-regulated CD80 and CD86 expression. Moreover, only viable tachyzoites and antigenic extract induced IL-12 synthesis by dendritic cells. MHC-II expression was up-regulated and CD86 expression was down-regulated at the surface of macrophages, regardless of the parasitic form was encountered. However, IL-12 secretion by macrophages was only observed under conditions using viable and heat-killed parasite. We then analysed how macrophages and dendritic cells were involved in inducing T-cell responses. T lymphocyte IFN-γ-secretion in correlation with IL-12 production occurred after interactions between T cells and dendritic cells exposed to viable tachyzoites or antigenic extract. By contrast, for macrophages IFN-γ production was IL-12-independent and only occurred after interactions between T cells and macrophages exposed to antigenic extract. Thus, N. caninum-induced activation of murine dendritic cells, but not that of macrophages, was associated with T cell IFN-γ production after IL-12 secretion.
International journal for parasitology 02/2011; 41(6):685-95. · 3.39 Impact Factor