Folia Parasitologica 64:012 (2017) | DOI: 10.14411/fp.2017.012
Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease caused by protists (apicomplexans) of the genus Eimeria Schneider, 1875 and is considered to be the most important disease faced by rabbit breeders due to its high morbidity. In the present study, the antioxidant status and changes in apoptosis and in the expression of some genes were quantified in rabbits' ilea following infection with Eimeria intestinalis Cheissin, 1948. Rabbits, orally infected with 1 × 105 sporulated oocysts of E. intestinalis, started to shed oocysts in their faeces on 8 days post infection (dpi) and reached maximum excretion on 10 dpi, with approximately 5 million oocysts. This was accompanied by a significant decrease in the live body weight of infected rabbits. Also, malondialdehyde and nitric oxide were significantly increased while catalase and glutathione were significantly decreased in the ileum tissues of the infected rabbits. In addition, a significant increase was observed in the percentages of apoptotic cells in the ilea of the infected rabbits. Furthermore, interleukin-1β and interleukin-2 mRNA levels were significantly down-regulated and mRNA levels of interleukin-6, interferon gamma and inducible nitric oxide synthase were significantly up-regulated, while those of C-reactive protein remained unchanged. We conclude that infection with E. intestinalis induces oxidative stress, a significant increase in the percentage of apoptotic cells and a diverse and robust Th1 and Th1-related cytokine response in the ileum tissues.
Received: October 28, 2016; Accepted: March 20, 2017; Published online: April 19, 2017