1. Unidad de Medicina Experimental, Hospital General de México, México D.F. 06726, México.
2. Facultad de Química, Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. 04510, México.
3. Departamento de Inmunología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. 04510, México.
4. Departamento de Medicina Experimental, Facultad de Medicina, Hospital General de México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. 06726, México.
5. Departamento de Biología Celular y Tisular, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. 04510, México.
6. Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. 04510, México.
More than one quarter of human world's population is exposed to intestinal helminth parasites. The Taenia solium tapeworm carrier is the main risk factor in the transmission of both human neurocysticercosis and porcine cysticercosis. Sex steroids play an important role during T. solium infection, particularly progesterone has been proposed as a key immunomodulatory hormone involved in susceptibility to human taeniosis in woman and cysticercosis in pregnant pigs. Thus, we evaluated the effect of progesterone administration upon the experimental taeniosis in golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). Intact female adult hamsters were randomly divided into 3 groups: progesterone-subcutaneously treated; olive oil-treated as the vehicle group; and untreated controls. Animals were treated every other day during 4 weeks. After 2 weeks of treatment, all hamsters were orally infected with 4 viable T. solium cysticerci. After 2 weeks post infection, progesterone-treated hamsters showed reduction in adult worm recovery by 80%, compared to both vehicle-treated and non-manipulated infected animals. In contrast to control and vehicle groups, progesterone treatment diminished tapeworm length by 75% and increased proliferation rate of leukocytes from spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes of infected hamsters by 5-fold. The latter exhibited high expression levels of IL-4, IL-6 and TNF-α at the duodenal mucosa, accompanied with polymorphonuclear leukocytes infiltration. These results support that progesterone protects hamsters from the T. solium adult tapeworm establishment by improving the intestinal mucosal immunity, suggesting a potential use of analogues of this hormone as novel inductors of the gut immune response against intestinal helminth infections and probably other bowel-related disorders.
Keywords: Taenia solium, cysticercosis, sex hormones, progesterone, inflammation.