Adult murine models of Cryptosporidium infection involving Cryptosporidium muris and C. parvum were used to study immunity to cryptosporidiosis in the mammalian host. Immunocompetent BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice developed a highly patent infection with the RN 66 strain of C. muris but overcame the infection and were immune to reinfection. In contrast, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice or nude mice had a chronic infection lasting at least 109 days. The development of the C. muris infection appeared to be confined to the gastric epithelium in immunocompetent and immunocompromised mice. SCID mice injected intraperitoneally with histocompatible spleen or mesenteric lymph node cells from uninfected BALB/c mice were able to recover from the C. muris infection. The protective effect of donor spleen cells was not reduced by depletion of the B cell population but was significantly reduced by depletion of Thy.1 cells. Treatment of C57BL/6 or BALB/c mice during infection with a gamma interferon-neutralizing monoclonal antibody, but not a tumor necrosis factor-neutralizing monoclonal antibody, resulted in a significant increase in oocyst production. In the C. parvum model, a severe and eventually fatal chronic infection with a cervine isolate was established in SCID mice, with parasitization occurring in the ileum, cecum, and colon. SCID mice injected with unprimed BALB/c spleen cells prior to inoculation of C. parvum oocysts were resistant to infection. These results suggested that the two animal models should be valuable in the study of immunity to cryptosporidial infection
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