Neodiplostomum seoulense is highly pathogenic and lethal to experimental mice; most worms are expelled within 2 mo of acquisition. In this study, T-helper (Th) cell immune responses were studied in N. seoulense-infected BALB/c mice. Spleen and mesenteric lymph node (MLN) cells of infected mice proliferated in response to parasite antigens; CD4 T cells proliferated more than CD8 T cells. Antigen-induced interferon (IFN)-γ (a Th1 cytokine) secretion began to increase at day 7 postinfection (PI) in spleen and MLN cells, and this was maintained at day 28 PI, whereas interleukin (IL)-4 (a Th2 cytokine) secretion was somewhat lower. Similar results were observed for mRNA signals of IFN-γ and IL-4. Antigen-specific serum total immunoglobulin (Ig)G, IgG1, IgM, and IgA levels (Th2-induced) were elevated from days 7 to 14 to day 28 PI, and IgG2a (Th1-induced) was elevated at days 21 to 28 PI. Interestingly, the numbers of macrophages (Th1- or Th2-induced), which were found to kill N. seoulense worms in vitro, increased remarkably during days 14–28 PI in spleens and small intestines of infected mice. This study shows that mixed Th1 and Th2 responses occur during the course of N. seoulense infection in BALB/c mice. Heavy infiltrations of macrophages in the small intestine may participate in host damage and worm expulsion.
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