Analysis of the immune destructive potential of Trypanosoma brucei infections, with a focus on loss of vaccine-induced immunological memory.

Project Details


Trypanosomosis is a parasitic infection that is currently affecting large parts of the developing world, in Africa, South America and Asia. Our past research has provided clear evidence that in order to survive in a mammalian host, Trypanosomes exert a profound negative effect on the immune system and in special on the B-cells. This results in the loss of antibody-mediated immunity against the parasite and other common pathogens. Hence, Trypanosome infections lead to general vaccine failure, causing possible subsequent death due to secondary infections. Overcoming Animal Trypanosomosis is a must for the future development of all affected regions in order to ensure food safety, as affected agriculture animals are used for tracking power, as well as milk and meat production. Hence our aim is to understand how the parasite acts in suppressing and destroying B-cells in the host, leading to the loss of vaccine-induced immunological memory. The project addresses three major questions: (i) What is the fate of the hosts B-cells during experimental Trypanosome infections? (ii) How do parasite-specific released compounds contribute to this immune destructive potential? (iii) Can intervention of the Trypanosome-host interaction help in regaining parasite control, so that a potential new vaccine strategy can be developed based on these secreted compounds?
Effective start/end date1/10/184/06/19


  • infections

Flemish discipline codes

  • Biomedical modelling