Feeding polyamine-deficient chow (PDC) to rats decreases blood polyamines, increases the activity of ornithine decarboxylase as an index of polyamine production, and increases resistance to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (Wellcome strain) (WS) infection. In this study, we investigated the influence on cytokine and nitric oxide (NO) production of feeding PDC to rats infected with WS. At 4 days postinfection with WS, serum concentration of interleukin (IL)-12, tumor necrosis factor-α, interferon-γ, IL-10, and NO increased in PDC-fed rats; however, IL-12 concentration in normal chow (NC)-fed rats did not increase. In spleen cells cocultured with WS, levels of IL-12 and inducible NO synthase (NOS) mRNA expression were higher in PDC-fed rats than in NC-fed rats. Proliferation of WS in coculture with spleen cells from PDC-fed rats was inhibited, but inhibition of WS proliferation was not observed when an NOS inhibitor was added into the culture media. Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity increased in NC-fed rats after WS infection, but decreased in PDC-fed rats. These results show that feeding WS-infected rats PDC influences the production of cytokines such as IL-12 and the regulation of NO and polyamine production, and also leads to an increase in resistance against WS.

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