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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz
ISSN: 1678-8060
EISSN: 1678-8060
Vol. 101, No. 5, 2006, pp. 523-528
Bioline Code: oc06088
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Vol. 101, No. 5, 2006, pp. 523-528

 en Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection induces thymocyte apoptosis and thymocyte depletion in CBA mice
Leonardo JM Carvalho; Maria F Ferreira-da-Cruz; Claudio T Daniel-Ribeiro; Marcelo Pelajo-Machado & Henrique L Lenzi

Abstract

Immune responses to malaria infections are characterized by strong T and B cell activation, which, in addition of potentially causing immunopathology, are of poor efficacy against the infection. It is possible that the thymus is involved in the origin of immunopathological reactions and a target during malaria infections. This work was developed in an attempt to further clarify these points. We studied the sequential changes in the thymus of CBA mice infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA, a model in which 60-90% of the infected animals develop cerebral malaria. During the acute phase of infection, different degrees of thymocyte apoptosis were recorded: (1) starry-sky pattern of diffuse apoptosis with maintenance of cortical-medullary structure; (2) intense apoptosis with cortical atrophy, with absence of large cells; (3) severe cortical thymocyte depletion, resulting in cortical-medullary inversion. In the latter, only residual clusters of small thymocytes were observed within the framework of epithelial cells. The intensity of thymus alterations could not be associated with the degree of parasitemia, the expression of clinical signs of cerebral malaria or intensity of brain lesions. The implications of these events for malaria immunity and pathology are discussed.

Keywords
malaria - thymus - Plasmodium berghei - mice

 
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