Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 21282414
Infect. Immun. 2011 Apr;79(4):1647-53
Cryptosporidiosis is an important diarrheal disease of humans and neonatal livestock caused by Cryptosporidium spp. that infect epithelial cells. Recovery from Cryptosporidium parvum infection in adult hosts involves CD4(+) T cells with a strong Th1 component, but mechanisms of immunity in neonates are not well characterized. In the present investigation with newborn mice, similar acute patterns of infection were obtained in C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) and T and B cell-deficient Rag2(-/-) mice. In comparison with uninfected controls, the proportion of intestinal CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells did not increase in infected WT mice during recovery from infection. Furthermore, infection in neonatal WT mice depleted of CD4(+) T cells was not exacerbated. Ten weeks after WT and Rag2(-/-) mice had been infected as neonates, no patent infections could be detected. Treatment at this stage with the immunosuppressive drug dexamethasone produced patent infections in Rag2(-/-) mice but not WT mice. Expression of inflammatory markers, including gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and interleukin-12p40 (IL-12p40), was higher in neonatal WT mice than in Rag2(-/-) mice around the peak of infection, but IL-10 expression was also higher in WT mice. These results suggest that although CD4(+) T cells may be important for elimination of C. parvum, these cells are dispensable for controlling the early acute phase of infection in neonates.