PLoS One. 2013 May 7;8(5):e62889. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062889. Print 2013.
IL-21 Is Required for Optimal Antibody Production and T Cell Responses during Chronic Toxoplasma gondii Infection
Stumhofer JS, Silver JS, Hunter CA.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, United States of America.
Previous studies have indicated that Il21r (-/-) mice chronically infected with Toxoplasma gondii display a defect in serum IgG; however, the basis for this antibody defect was not defined and questions remain about the role of IL-21 in promoting the production of IL-10, which is required to limit infection-induced pathology during toxoplasmosis. Therefore, Il21 (-/-) mice were challenged with T. gondii to determine whether IL-21 impacts the parasite-specific CD8(+) T cell response, its contribution to thymus-dependent antibody production after infection, and balance between protective and pathogenic responses. Whereas IL-21 has been implicated in the differentiation of IL-10 producing CD4(+) T cells no immune-mediated pathology was evident in Il21 (-/-) mice during the acute response, nor was there a defect in the development of this population in chronically infected Il21 (-/-) mice. However, Il21 (-/-) mice displayed a defect in IgG production after infection that correlated with a decrease in GC B cell numbers, the CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell numbers in the brain were reduced over the course of the chronic infection leading to a decrease in total IFN-γ production and an increase in parasite numbers associated with susceptibility to toxoplasmic encephalitis. Together, these results identify a key role for IL-21 in shaping the humoral and cellular response to T. gondii, but indicate that IL-21 has a limited role in regulating immunopathology.
PMID: 23667536 [PubMed - in process]