Convulsions Due to Increased Permeability of the Blood-Brain Barrier in Experimental Cerebral Malaria Can Be Prevented by Splenectomy or Anti-T Cell Treatment

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Experimental cerebral malaria (ECM) can be induced in C57B1 mice by infection with Plasmodium berghei K173 parasites. Behavioral changes shortly before they die of ECM may reflect disturbance of the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Folic acid elicits strong convulsive activity if the permeability of the BBB is increased. Administration of folic acid to mice during development of ECM induced convulsions. Interventions known to prevent fatal outcome from ECM, such as splenectomy or treatment with anti-CD4 or anti-CD8 monoclonal antibodies, also prevented sensitivity to folic acid-induced convulsions. In addition, infected mice with ECM and sensitive to folic acid-induced convulsions, recovered from this sensitivity after treatment with anti-T cell antibodies within 4 h. These data suggest that disturbance of the permeability of the BBB can be reversed and depends on the involvement of T cells.

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