NK Cells Involvement in Immune Exhaustion During Acute T. gondii infection

Saltz, Giandor
The model for this research project is the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. Researching the immunological response to Toxoplasma gondii infection is important when trying to understand the pathogenesis of this parasite. T. gondii is the 3rd leading cause of food-borne illness in the U.S. The primary focus of this research proposal will be on natural killer (NK) cells, a cell that has traditionally belonged to the innate immune system. I focused on the effect of depleting of NK cells during acute T. gondii infection and how this changed the T cell response. T cells are effector cells of the immune system and vital for protection and removing infected cells. We found that the T cells, instead of having a boosted response as with viral infections, had a decrease in response after depleting NK cells. This leads us to conclude the NK cells are important for acute infections of T. gondii.
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