The role of B-cells and IgM antibodies in parasitemia, anemia, and VSG switching in Trypanosoma brucei-infected mice.

TitleThe role of B-cells and IgM antibodies in parasitemia, anemia, and VSG switching in Trypanosoma brucei-infected mice.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsMagez, S., Schwegmann A., Atkinson R., Claes F., Drennan M., De Baetselier P., and Brombacher F.
JournalPLoS Pathog
Volume4
Issue8
Paginatione1000122
Date Published2008
Type of Articleparasites
ISSN1553-7374
KeywordsAnemia, Animals, Antibodies, Protozoan, B-Lymphocytes, Female, Immunoglobulin M, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Knockout, Parasitemia, Trypanosoma brucei brucei, Trypanosomiasis, African
Abstract

African trypanosomes are extracellular parasitic protozoa, predominantly transmitted by the bite of the haematophagic tsetse fly. The main mechanism considered to mediate parasitemia control in a mammalian host is the continuous interaction between antibodies and the parasite surface, covered by variant-specific surface glycoproteins. Early experimental studies have shown that B-cell responses can be strongly protective but are limited by their VSG-specificity. We have used B-cell (microMT) and IgM-deficient (IgM(-/-)) mice to investigate the role of B-cells and IgM antibodies in parasitemia control and the in vivo induction of trypanosomiasis-associated anemia. These infection studies revealed that that the initial setting of peak levels of parasitemia in Trypanosoma brucei-infected microMT and IgM(-/-) mice occurred independent of the presence of B-cells. However, B-cells helped to periodically reduce circulating parasites levels and were required for long term survival, while IgM antibodies played only a limited role in this process. Infection-associated anemia, hypothesized to be mediated by B-cell responses, was induced during infection in microMT mice as well as in IgM(-/-) mice, and as such occurred independently from the infection-induced host antibody response. Antigenic variation, the main immune evasion mechanism of African trypanosomes, occurred independently from host antibody responses against the parasite's ever-changing antigenic glycoprotein coat. Collectively, these results demonstrated that in murine experimental T. brucei trypanosomiasis, B-cells were crucial for periodic peak parasitemia clearance, whereas parasite-induced IgM antibodies played only a limited role in the outcome of the infection.

DOI10.1371/journal.ppat.1000122
Alternate JournalPLoS Pathog.
PubMed ID18688274
PubMed Central IDPMC2483930
Research group: