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Keywords:

  • infection;
  • mouse model;
  • trypanosomiasis;
  • vector biology

Summary

African trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease that affects a variety of mammals, including humans, on the sub-Saharan African continent. To understand the diverse parameters that govern the host–parasite–vector interactions, mouse models for the disease have proven to be a cornerstone. Despite the fact that most trypanosomes cannot be considered natural pathogens for rodents, experimental infections in mice have shed a tremendous amount of light on the general biology of these parasites and their interaction with and evasion of the mammalian immune system. Different aspects including inflammation, vaccine failure, antigenic variation, resistance/sensitivity to normal human serum and the influence of tsetse compounds on parasite transmission have all been addressed using mouse models. In more recent years, the introduction of various ‘knock-out’ mouse strains has allowed to analyse the implication of various cytokines, particularly TNF, IFNγ and IL-10, in the regulation of parasitaemia and induction of pathological conditions during infection.