The effect of immunosuppressive and immunostimulatory treatment on experimental amoebiasis

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Immunosuppressive treatments consisting of ionizing irradiation or drugs were employed in inbred and outbred mice and in golden hamsters. Following treatment, mice were challanged intracaecally or intrahepatically with virulent, axenically-grown Entamoeba histolytica. Hamsters were challenged by intraperitoneal injection of the amoebae. Many of the experimental animals died of the combined effects of treatment and challenge. Mice remained essentially refractory to infection with E. histolytica regardless of the immunosuppressive means employed. Liver infection rates in treated and control hamsters were largely similar to one another, i.e. immunosuppressive treatment had no effect on resistance to infection. Our inability to alter the susceptibility of mice and hamsters to amoebic infection by suppressing components of the immune system does not enable us to draw any clearcut conclusions as to the effect of immunosuppression on human amoebiasis. Of the various immunostimulatory materials employed in hamsters, including polysaccharides, BCG and muramyl peptides, only glucan displayed protective capacity against infection with E. histolytica, making it an effective protective agent in an extracellular parasitic infection in addition to its published effectiveness in intracellular protozoal infections. Peritoneal cells extracted from hamsters injected intraperitoneally with E. histolytica seemed capable of reducing the infectivity of virulent amoebae after coincubation in vitro, as shown by reduced infection rates in challenged hamsters. Apparently polymorphonuclear cells, which constituted the vast majority of the extracted cells 24 hours after the stimulatory injection, can, under certain conditions, diminish the infectivity of E. histolytica.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-580
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1990


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