Subcutaneous implantation of Taenia solium metacestodes in mice induces an inflammatory reaction made up mainly of neutrophils and eosinophils after 12 days. Administration of a small RNA-peptide (metacestode factor, MF) purified from T. solium metacestodes significantly reduces the inflammatory site in both size and composition, yielding a very low number of eosinophils. The metacestodes implanted in control mice were completely destroyed and their remnants were surrounded by an intense inflammation predominantly made up of neutrophils and eosinophils. In contrast, metacestodes implanted in mice treated with MF showed apparently intact suckers, rostellum, hooks, and tegument. Inhibition of inflammation around the parasites was also observed in mice immunized with T. solium metacestode antigens and inoculated simultaneously with MF. Mice immunized only with T. solium metacestode antigens produced a granulomatous process around metacestodes that destroyed most of the large metacestode structures: suckers, rostellum, hooks, and tegument-wall tissues. Furthermore, treatment of mice with MF or implanted metacestodes decreased the antibody (P < 0.05) and cellular responses (P < 0.05) to metacestode antigens. The antibody response was even lower when both of these treatments were given simultaneously. These findings support the idea that MF plays a key role in the down-regulation of the host immune response, contributing to the parasite's survival.
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