Expression of Tim-1 and Tim-3 in Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection.
Cerebral malaria (CM) is a serious and often fatal complication of Plasmodium falciparum infections; however, the precise mechanisms leading to CM is poorly understood. Mouse malaria models have provided insight into the key events in pathogenesis of CM. T-cell immune response is known to play an important role in malaria infection, and members of the T-cell immunoglobulin- and mucin-domain-containing molecule (Tim) family have roles in T-cell-mediated immune responses. Tim-1 and Tim-3 are expressed on terminally differentiated Th2 and Th1 cells, respectively, and participate in the regulation of Th immune response. Until now, the role of Tim family proteins in Plasmodium infection remains unclear. In the present study, the mRNA levels of Tim-1, Tim-3, and some key Th1 and Th2 cytokines in the spleen of Kunming outbred mice infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbANKA) were determined using real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Compared with uninfected controls, Tim-1 expression was significantly decreased in infected mice with CM at day 10 postinfection (p.i.) but significantly increased in infected mice with non-CM at day 22 p.i.; in contrast, Tim-3 expression was significantly increased in infected mice both with CM at day 10 p.i. and with non-CM at day 22 p.i. The expressions of IFN-?, TNF-?, IL-10, and IL-12 were significantly increased but IL-4 was significantly decreased in infected mice with CM at days 10 p.i., whereas the expressions of IFN-?, TNF-?, IL-4, IL-10, and TGF-? were significantly increased but IL-12 was significantly decreased in infected mice with non-CM at days 22 p.i. Furthermore, the expression of Tim-1 and Tim-3 could reflect Th2 and Th1 immune response in the spleen of PbANKA-infected mice, respectively. Our data suggest that PbANKA infection could inhibit the differentiation of T lymphocytes toward Th2 cells, promote the Th1 cell differentiation, and induce Th1-biased immune response in the early infective stage, whereas the infection could promote Th2 cell differentiation and induce Th2-biased immune response in the late infective stage. Our data indicate that both Tim-1 and Tim-3 may play a role in the process of PbANKA infection, which may represent a potential therapeutic target.