David T. Clark

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Sciences and Resources: Biology


Environmental Sciences and Resources

Physical Description

1 online resource ([2, xi], 184 pages) : illustrations (some color)


Trichinella spiralis, Nematodes, Parasites -- Behavior, Mice -- Parasites -- Analysis, Trichinella, Host-parasite relationships -- Evaluation




The intracellular parasite Trichinella is a genus in phylum Nematoda that contains six named species including Trichinella spiralis and Trichinella pseudospiralis. These parasites infect a large variety of wild and domestic animals, human beings and a few species of birds. The parasitic strategies and the pathological effects on the host between trichinella spiralis and Trichinella pseudospiralis are quite different.

The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of the physiological, immunological and pathological differences between these two species of Trichinella using infections in the mouse as a model. In the course of this research I have attempted to answer the following questions: A) Is cortisol a factor in the differences of the host response to Trichinella spiralis or Trichinella pseudospiralis? B) Are there differences in leukocyte response in the peripheral blood of Trichinella infected mice? C) Are there differences in the up-regulation or down-regulation of cell surface molecules on leukocytes in the spleens of Trichinella infected mice? D) Is there a difference in the degree of muscle damage (as measured by creatine phosphokinase) when infections by the two species of Trichinella are compared? E) Are there differences in angiogenesis and collagen deposition in Trichinella infected mice and are these differences related to cortisol? F) Is nitric oxide a component in parasite killing and are there differences in nitric oxide production in host mice when the two species of Trichinella are compared?

My research has shown that there are significant differences in the parasitic strategies and pathological consequences in mice infected with one or the other of the two species of Trichinella. The two species appear to generate different immune and inflammatory responses from the host. Trichinella pseudospiralis is much less damaging to the host, generates a very different peripheral blood response, stimulates the production of substantially greater levels of serum cortisol, generates a significantly different profile in cytokine production presents a very different cell surface antigen profile and does not produce a collagen nurse cell or generate an angiogenic response when compared to T spiralis. In addition, I have shown a role for nitric oxide in parasite killing and a role for serum cortisol in larval survival. I have also shown that cortisol has no role in either collagen deposition or the angiogenic response in Balb/c mice under the experimental conditions detailed here.


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