Cytokine production in rhesus monkeys infected with Plasmodium coatneyi.

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  • 1 Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3724, USA.

Plasmodium coatneyi infection in rhesus monkeys has been used as a model for studying human malaria. Cytokine production in this model, however, has so far not been examined. In this study, four rhesus monkeys were infected with P. coatneyi, with another four animals serving as uninfected controls. Blood samples were taken for the determination of daily parasitemia, and cytokine and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) levels at days 0, 3, 5, 7, and 10. All inoculated animals became infected, with synchronized appearance of ring-stage parasites. Infected monkeys had increased plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1beta, interferon-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha) during the late stage of the infection. They also had increased production of ciliary neurotrophic factor. In conjunction with the production of proinflammatory cytokines, infected monkeys also had gradual increases in the production of PGE2. A continued definition of the P. coatneyi/rhesus monkey animal model should be useful for the elucidation of the immunopathogenesis of human malaria.

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