Abstract

In rats infected with the parasite Schistosoma mansoni, the concentration of C-reactive protein in the serum increases after the lung stage of infection and is at its highest at the time of terminal worm rejection. The peak of platelet-mediated cytotoxicity induced by infected serum that has been heated (and is free of immunoglobulin E) as well as the time course for the development of platelet cytotoxic activity in infected rats was found to be correlated with the concentration of C-reactive protein. Rat and human platelets treated with homologous serum obtained during an acute phase of inflammation or with purified C-reactive protein were able to kill the immature forms of the worm in vitro. Platelets treated with C-reactive protein were furthermore capable of conferring significant protection against schistosomiasis in transfer experiments. Collectively these data indicate that a system that includes C-reactive protein and platelets participates in the natural resistance of the rat to schistosomal infection.

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