Immune modulation by fish kinetoplastid parasites: A role for nitric oxide

Jeroen Saeij, W. B. Van Muiswinkel, A. Groeneveld, Geert F. Wiegertjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Trypanoplasma borreli and Trypanosoma carassii are kinetoplastid parasites infecting cyprinid fish. We investigated the role of nitric oxide (NO) in immune modulation during T. borreli and T. carassii infection of carp. Phagocytic cells from different organs produced NO and serum nitrate levels increased, demonstrating that T. borreli activates NO production in vivo. In contrast, T. carassii did not induce NO production in vivo and inhibited LPS-induced NO production in vitro. Production of NO was detrimental to the host as T. borreli-infected carp treated with the inducible NO synthase inhibitor aminoguanidine had a higher survival than infected control carp. This detrimental effect can be explained (in part) by the toxicity of NO to cells in vitro as NO inhibited the proliferative response of blood and spleen leukocytes. Head-kidney phagocytes were resistant to the immunosuppressive effects of NO in vitro. The NO-inducing activity of T. borreli may be an adaptation developed to ensure survival and immune evasion in the fish host. Apparently, T. carassii has adopted another strategy by deactivating specific functions of phagocytes. Both strategies may ensure long-term survival of the parasite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-86
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Fish
  • Immunosuppression
  • Nitric oxide
  • Parasite
  • Trypanoplasma
  • Trypanosoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology


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