There appear to be two phases in the control of parasitemia in acute Chagas' disease in the mouse. The first phase occurs during the first few weeks after infection and control is achieved through a thymus-dependent, antibody-independent mechanism. Challenge of B cell-suppressed C3H and F1 (C57BL/6 X C3H) mice with the Brazil strain of Trypanosoma cruzi led to a course of parasitemia for the first 3 wk after infection similar to that seen in normal C3H or F1 mice and markedly lower than the parasite levels observed in the blood of nu/nu mice. Challenge of BXH-2 recombinant inbred mice resulted in a course of parasitemia similar to that seen in nu/nu mice up to day 16 despite the production of normal levels of antibody. The BXH-2 mice lack the ability to effect the early control of parasitemia. The second phase begins several weeks after infection with the rise in antibody titer, and the control is exerted through an antibody-mediated mechanism. In all B cell-suppressed mice, an inexorable rise in parasitemia occurred up to the time of death, which suggests that antibody is important for the eventual clearance of parasites from the blood. A comparison of the IgM and IgG antibody titers to T. cruzi in a series of resistant and susceptible strains showed that there was no correlation between the appearance of specific antibody or antibody titers and the levels of parasitemia observed. The level of parasitemia attained in the late acute phase may be primarily determined by the extent of parasite proliferation in the early acute phase.

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