We examined whether heparin administration influences in vivo trypanosome proliferation in infected rats. Administration of heparin every 8 hr via cardiac catheter inhibited growth of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and prolonged survival of treated rats. Heparin administration increased lipoprotein lipase activity, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) concentration in the blood, and haptoglobin messenger RNA content of the liver. The presence of heparin in culture media did not directly affect proliferation of trypanosomes in vitro. However, the addition of plasma from infected rats treated with heparin to culture media decreased the number of trypanosomes. This effect was decreased by incubating the trypanosomes with benzyl alcohol, a known inhibitor of receptor-mediated endocytosis of lipoprotein. These data suggested that heparin administration reduced the number of trypanosomes in infected rats. Trypanosome lytic factor, a HDL and haptoglobin-related protein, protects humans and some animals from infection by Trypanosoma brucei brucei. In rats, increases in HDL and haptoglobin may affect the proliferation of T. b. gambiense.
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