Back to Library

Early stages of infection with Trypanosoma Congo Republiclense: parasite kinetics and expression of metacyclic antigen types

Published by:
Publication date
Type of Publication:
Articles & Journals
Focus Region:
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Health & Diseases
Type of Risk:
Biological & environmental
Hopkins, J.; Luckins, A.G.; Mwangi, D.; Sutherland, D.

Trypanosoma Congo Republiclense develops in the skin of sheep at the site of inoculation of metacyclic trypanosomes, forming a chancre containing large numbers of parasites. By cannulating the afferent and efferent lymphatic ducts draining the skin and regional lymph node, the progressive development and migration of trypanosomes from the chancre was monitored and the expression of metacyclic antigen types (M-VATs) was determined. The kinetics of development of parasitosis in the afferent and efferent lymph was similar. Trypanosomes were detected in lymph 5 to 6 days after the inoculation of cultured metacyclic trypanosomes, at the same time as the chancre first appeared in the skin. The numbers of trypanosomes in the lymph reached their peak levels 8 to 10 days post infection and thereafter numbers fell, although there were still many parasites in the lymph after the chancre had regressed. Trypanosomes in the afferent lymph expressed mainly M-VATs and the absolute numbers of four M-VATs which were monitored increased up to 9 days post infection. There was a fall in numbers by day 10, but 92% of the trypanosomes in the afferent lymph continued to express M-VATs. In contrast, trypanosomes from the efferent lymph were found not to express M-VATs suggesting that a major switch in VAT expression occurs in the lymph node. Specific antibody responses, measured by neutralization tests, were evident 16 to 20 days after infection in afferent lymph but only low levels of antibodies were found in efferent lymph.