Background: Trypanosoma congolense are extracellular and intravascular blood parasites that cause debilitating acute or chronic disease in cattle and other domestic animals. Diminazene aceturate (Berenil) has been widely used as a chemotherapeutic agent for trypanosomiasis in livestock since 1955. As in livestock, treatment of infected highly susceptible BALB/c mice with Berenil leads to rapid control of parasitemia and survival from an otherwise lethal infection. The molecular and biochemical mechanisms of action of Berenil are still not very well defined and its effect on the host immune system has remained relatively unstudied. Here, we investigated whether Berenil has, in addition to its trypanolytic effect, a modulatory effect on the host immune response to Trypanosoma congolense. Methodology/Principal Findings: BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were infected intraperitoneally with T. congolense, treated with Berenil and the expression of CD25 and FoxP3 on splenic cells was assessed directly ex vivo. In addition, serum levels and spontaneous and LPS-induced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by splenic and hepatic CD11b+ cells were determined by ELISA. Berenil treatment significantly reduced the percentages of CD25+ cells, a concomitant reduction in the percentage of regulatory (CD4+Foxp3+) T cells and a striking reduction in serum levels of disease exacerbating pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-6, IL-12, TNF and IFN-γ. Furthermore, Berenil treatment significantly suppressed spontaneous and LPS-induced production of inflammatory cytokines by splenic and liver macrophages and significantly ameliorated LPS-induced septic shock and the associated cytokine storm. Conclusions/Significance: Collectively, these results provide evidence that in addition to its direct trypanolytic effect, Berenil also modulates the host immune response to the parasite in a manner that dampen excessive immune activation and production of pathology-promoting pro-inflammatory cytokines, suggesting that this drug may also be beneficial for treatment of disease conditions caused by excessive production of inflammatory cytokines. © 2012 Kuriakose et al.
Kuriakose, S., Muleme, H. M., Onyilagha, C., Singh, R., Jia, P., & Uzonna, J. E. (2012). Diminazene Aceturate (Berenil) Modulates the Host Cellular and Inflammatory Responses to Trypanosoma congolense Infection. PLoS ONE, 7(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048696