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Chickens treated with a nitric oxide inhibitor became more resistant to Plasmodium gallinaceum infection due to reduced anemia, thrombocytopenia and inflammation

Barbarella Matos de Macchi12, Farlen José Bebber Miranda1, Fernanda Silva de Souza1, Eulógio Carlos Queiroz de Carvalho3, Antônio Peixoto Albernaz4, José Luiz Martins do Nascimento2 and Renato Augusto DaMatta1*

  • * Corresponding author: Renato Augusto DaMatta renato@uenf.br

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratório de Biologia Celular e Tecidual, Centro de Biociências e Biotecnologia, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, 28013-602, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil

2 Laboratório de Neuroquímica, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Av. Augusto Corrêa 1, 66075-110, Belém, PA, Brazil

3 Laboratório de Morfologia e Patologia Animal, Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Agropecuárias, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, 28013-602, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil

4 Laboratório de Clínica e Cirurgia Animal, Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Agropecuárias, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, 28013-602, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil

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Veterinary Research 2013, 44:8  doi:10.1186/1297-9716-44-8

Published: 11 February 2013

Abstract

Malaria is a serious infectious disease caused by parasites of the Plasmodium genus that affect different vertebrate hosts. Severe malaria leads to host death and involves different pathophysiological phenomena such as anemia, thrombocytopenia and inflammation. Nitric oxide (NO) is an important effector molecule in this disease, but little is known about its role in avian malaria models. Plasmodium gallinaceum- infected chickens were treated with aminoguanidine (AG), an inhibitor of inducible nitric oxide synthase, to observe the role of NO in the pathogenesis of this avian model. AG increased the survival of chickens, but also induced higher parasitemia. Treated chickens demonstrated reduced anemia and thrombocytopenia. Moreover, erythrocytes at different stages of maturation, heterophils, monocytes and thrombocytes were infected by Plasmodium gallinaceum and animals presented a generalized leucopenia. Activated leukocytes and thrombocytes with elongated double nuclei were observed in chickens with higher parasitemia; however, eosinophils were not involved in the infection. AG reduced levels of hemozoin in the spleen and liver, indicating lower inflammation. Taken together, the results suggest that AG reduced anemia, thrombocytopenia and inflammation, explaining the greater survival rate of the treated chickens.