The observation of Trypanosomes in patients affected by sleeping sickness has been reported in 1903 by Aldo Castellani. On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of this discovery, we here present the findings recently obtained in and experimental model of African trypanosomiasis in the rat. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of the interplay between the parasite and the host have been largely clarified: a bidirectional signalling occurs between trypanosomes and CD8+ T cells of the host animal. This new pathogenetic mechanism of infection involves a lymphocyte triggering factor released by the parasite and interferon-gamma. A recently isolated neuronal interferon-gamma could also play a role in the disease. The selective induction of major histocompatibility antigens class I has revealed the involvement of the hypothalamic paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei in trypanosomiasis. Finally, studies based on the expression of the immediate early gene c-fos have pointed out during the infection a selective d ysregulation of the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, that plays the role of biological clock. The latter finding could account for the disruption of endogenous rhythms in sleeping sickness.
|Titolo:||From trypanosomes to the nervous system, from molecules to behavior: a survey, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Castellani's discovery of the parasites in sleeping sickness|
|Data di pubblicazione:||1994|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.01 Articolo in Rivista|