During acute Trypanosoma cruzi infection in mice, many leucocytes undergo apoptosis. Although apoptosis has been ascribed to increased levels of nitric oxide (NO) and Fas-FasL interaction, the importance of this phenomenon in modulating the host response against T. cruzi is unknown. Herein, the role of NO- and Fas-FasL-induced apoptosis in modulating the immune response to T. cruzi was evaluated using mice deficient in Fas expression (MRL/MpJ-Fas lpr) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) knockout mice (iNOS-/-). The results showed that besides decreasing apoptosis induction after infection, impairment of the Fas-FasL interaction resulted in decreased NO production, as a consequence of enhanced T helper 2 (Th2) cytokine production. Differently, blockage of NO-induced apoptosis resulted in uncontrolled cytokine production, rather than a biased Th2 cytokine pattern. Together, these results suggested that Fas and FasL-induced apoptosis could be implied in modulation of the immune response against T. cruzi by interfering with cytokine and NO production during the acute phase of the infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy