Mast cell and eosinophils in the wall of the gut and eosinophils in the blood stream during Toxocara vitulorum infection of the water buffalo calves (Bubalus bubalis)
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Toxocara vitulorum is a pathogenic nematode from the small intestine of very young buffalo calves. To understand the development of the inflammatory responses in the wall of the gut, samples of tissues were removed from the duodenum, jejunum and ileum of buffalo calves naturally infected with T. vitulorum during the beginning of the infection, at the peak of egg output, as well as during the periods of rejection of the worms and post-rejection. Two additional control groups of uninfected calves (by anti-helminthic therapy of their mothers and after the birth) were also necropsied on days 30 and 50 after birth. Blood samples were fortnightly collected from birth to 174 days post-birth. Blood smears were prepared and stained with Giemsa for eosinophils. The parasitological status of buffalo calves was evaluated through weekly fecal egg counts (EPG) from 1 to 106 days after birth, which revealed that T. vitulorum egg shedding started on day 11, reached the peak of the infection on day 49 and finally expelled the parasites between days 50 and 85 after birth. In the infected buffalo calves, the mast cell population increased significantly, by two-fold in the mucosa (villus-crypt unit (VCU)) of the duodenum and four-fold in the proximal jejunum; but these increases were statistically significant only at the peak of the infection. Although mast cell numbers increased in the mucosa of the ileum as well as in both the submucosal and muscle tissues of the duodenum, proximal jejunum and ileum, the data was not significantly different from the controls. Eosinophil numbers increased in the mucosa of the duodenum (two-five times higher than the control) and proximal jejunum (three-five-fold) during the period of the infection (beginning, peak and rejection). The relative numbers of eosinophils increased in the blood stream from the second to the seventh week. In conclusion, T. vitulorum infection elicited mastocytosis and tissue eosinophilia in the duodenum and proximal jejunum, as well as eosinophilia in the blood stream, during the beginning, at the peak and during the rejection of the worm. After the rejection of the worms, the numbers of these cells returned to normal levels suggesting that these cells may have a role in the process of rejection of T. vitulorum by the host. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. B.V. All rights reserved.