Trypanosomosis is the most economically important disease constraint to livestock productivity in sub-Saharan Africa and has significant negative impact in other parts of the world. Livestock are an integral component of farming systems and thus contribute significantly to food and economic security in developing
countries. Current methods of control for trypanosomosis are inadequate to prevent the enormous socioeconomic losses resulting from this disease. A vaccine has been viewed as the most desirable
control option. However, the complexity of the parasite's antigenic repertoire made development of a vaccine based on the variable surface glycoprotein coat unlikely. As a result, research is now
focused on identifying invariant trypanosome components as potential targets for interrupting infection or infection-mediated disease. Immunosuppression appears to be a nearly universal feature of infection with African trypanosomes and thus may represent an essential element of the host-parasite relationship, possibly by reducing the host's ability to mount a protective immune response. Antibody, T cell and macrophage/monocyte responses of infected cattle are depressed in both trypanosusceptible and trypanotolerant breeds of cattle. This review describes the specific T cell and monocyte/macrophage functions that are altered in trypanosome-infected cattle and compares these disorders with those
that have been described in the murine model of trypanosomosis. The identification of parasite factors that induce immunosuppression and the mechanisms that mediate depressed immune responses might
suggest novel disease intervention strategies.