The effect of zinc supplementation on Taenia crassiceps murine cysticercosis was studied in susceptible BALB/cAnN mice. Female offspring of mice supplemented with high zinc throughout gestation and lactation were intraperitoneally infected with T. crassiceps cysticerci. Offspring from nonsupplemented mothers were used as controls. Significantly fewer parasites were recovered from zinc–supplemented mice (Zsm) 30 days after infection. Increased resistance was not related to the IgG antibody response. At early stages of infection, T cells from Zsm proliferated to T. crassiceps antigens, whereas cells from control mice did not respond. Infection caused in both groups a decrease in CD3+ cell percentages, which was more pronounced in the controls, and paralleled by a decrease in CD8+ cells; CD3+ and CD8+ percentages returned to normal levels at later stages of infection. In contrast, the CD4+ subpopulation only decreased in control mice. Intracellular cytokine determinations indicate that zinc supplementation favored a stronger and persistent type-1 T cell response in cysticerci-infected mice, which probably participates in the observed increased resistance.

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