Indexed on: 03 Jun '11Published on: 03 Jun '11Published in: The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
The aim of this study was to investigate the immunomodulatory effects of glucocorticoids on the immune response to Strongyloides venezuelensis in mice. Balb/c mice were infected with S. venezuelensis and treated with Dexamethasone (Dexa) or vehicle. Dexa treatment increased circulating blood neutrophil numbers and inhibited eosinophil and mononuclear cell accumulation in the blood, bronchoalveolar, and peritoneal fluid compared with control animals. Moreover, Dexa decreased tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), interleukin-3 (IL-3), IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, and IL-12 production in the lungs and circulating immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1), IgG2a, and IgE antibody levels while increasing the overall parasite burden in the feces and intestine. Dexa treatment enhanced the fertility of female nematodes relative to untreated and infected mice. In summary, the alterations in the immune response induced by Dexa resulted in a blunted, aberrant immune response associated with increased parasite burden. This phenomenon is similar to that observed in S. stercoralis-infected humans who are taking immunosuppressive or antiinflammatory drugs, including corticosteroids.