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Suppression of Autoimmune Disease in NZB and (NZB×NZW)F1 Hybrid Mice by Infection with Malaria


VARIOUS immunological changes have been observed in many apparently healthy subjects living in tropical regions that are probably related to multiple parasitic infections from childhood1. Consideration of this in conjunction with the rarity of autoimmune disease in tropical Africa, for example Western Nigeria2, led to the suggestion that the immunological effects of repeated parasitic infection might have some protective action against the development of autoimmune disease2. To investigate this hypothesis we have studied the effects of infection with malaria on the spontaneous autoimmune disease of NZB mice and the (NZB × NZW)F1 hybrid mice (B/W mice). Twenty-one NZB mice and thirteen female B/W mice from the Taplow colony were infected, when one month old, with the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei yoelii3 by the intraperitoneal injection of 1 × 106 parasites derived from a heavily infected mouse of the same strain. The malaria strain was not contaminated with Eperythrozoon coccoides. Parasitaemia was monitored by the examination of Giemsa stained blood films made from the tails of the mice every second day during the acute phase of the infection and at longer intervals thereafter. To determine whether low parasitaemia was persisting, heparinized blood samples were collected from each mouse 4 months after infection and pooled samples injected into young BALB/c mice.

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GREENWOOD, B., HERRICK, E. & VOLLER, A. Suppression of Autoimmune Disease in NZB and (NZB×NZW)F1 Hybrid Mice by Infection with Malaria. Nature 226, 266–267 (1970).

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