This study examines the effects of Taenia crassiceps cysticerci on the viability of a human T lymphocyte cell line (Jurkat). Both budding and non-budding T. crassiceps metacestodes were cultured over 24 and 48 h in the presence of Jurkat cells. Cell viability decreased with increasing numbers of cysticerci, particularly budding cysticerci. Single cell gel electrophoresis (comet) analysis, which grades DNA damage, showed a significant increase in apoptosis at 24 and 48 h. The morphology of treated cells was determined using acridine orange with the classical morphology of apoptotic bodies seen to increase with increasing cysticerci numbers over time. These results indicate that parasite-induced apoptosis occurs during murine cysticercosis. Such a mechanism may be important in survival of other metacestode infections of medical or veterinary importance.
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