Neurocysticercosis is a parasitic infection of the human central nervous system caused by the cestode Taenia solium. The most common clinical manifestations of neurocysticercosis are seizures. Taenia crassiceps cysticercosis in mice has been used as an experimental model for T. solium cysticercosis. Granulomas surrounding murine cysticerci have striking immunopathological resemblance to human neurocysticercosis; early stage granulomas were able to induce seizures in a rodent model. To assess the role of proinflammatory cytokines in early stage granulomas, we isolated RNA from murine cysticercal granulomas and checked for cytokine expression by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and/or ribonuclease (RNase) protection assays. Cytokine expression was compared with histological stages. Interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-1β, IL-1 receptor antagonist, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) were the major cytokines detected in all granulomas. Signals for IL-12, IL-18, and IL-6 RNA were not consistently detected and, when detected, were barely demonstrable. Expression of migration inhibitory factor (MIF), IL-6, IL-1α, TNF-α, and IL-18 was not significantly different between early and late-stage granulomas. Expression of IL-1β, IL-1 receptor antagonist, and IL-12 p40 were higher in late, compared with early, stages. Thus, we demonstrated a broad range of cytokines in these granulomas. However, we did not document preferential expression of any proinflammatory cytokines in early stage granulomas. Thus, proinflammatory cytokines are not responsible for the seizures in the rodent model of neurocysticercosis.
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