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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 597086, 6 pages
Research Article

Substance P Signaling Contributes to Granuloma Formation in Taenia crassiceps Infection, a Murine Model of Cysticercosis

1Section of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA
2Division of Gastroenterology, Tufts New England Medical Center, 750 Washington St., Box 233, Boston, MA 02111, USA

Received 8 August 2009; Revised 19 October 2009; Accepted 4 November 2009

Academic Editor: Luis I. Terrazas

Copyright © 2010 Armandina Garza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cysticercosis is an infection with larval cysts of the cestode Taenia solium. Through pathways that are incompletely understood, dying parasites initiate a granulomatous reaction that, in the brain, causes seizures. Substance P (SP), a neuropeptide involved in pain-transmission, contributes to inflammation and previously was detected in granulomas associated with dead T. crassiceps cysts. To determine if SP contributes to granuloma formation, we measured granuloma-size and levels of IL-1 , TNF- , and IL-6 within granulomas in T. crassiceps-infected wild type (WT) mice and mice deficient in SP-precursor (SPP) or the SP-receptor (neurokinin 1, NK1). Granuloma volumes of infected SPP- and NK1-knockout mice were reduced by 31 and 36%, respectively, compared to WT mice ( for both) and produced up to 5-fold less IL-1 , TNF- , and IL-6 protein. Thus, SP signaling contributes to granuloma development and proinflammatory cytokine production in T. crassiceps infection and suggests a potential role for this mediator in human cystercercosis.