Date of Defense

Spring 4-20-2001


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Leonard Beuving, Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Robert Eversole, Biological Sciences

Third Advisor

Charles Mackenzie, Biological Sciences


Research has shown that eosinophils will localize in infected intestinal tissue and secrete important mediators that control parasite rejection. A series of infections have been run with Nippostrongylus brasilensis, a nematode, in August rats. The N. brasiliensis infection targets the gastro-intestinal tract of the host, causing a characteristic immune response against the nematodes in this area. The author collected Peyer's patches of the intestine, a critical site of immune cell-cell interactions, from the rats on day twelve post-infection, prior to the parasite rejection from the host, day fourteen post-infection, when parasite rejection occurs, and day twenty-one post-infection, when protective eosinophilia against further infection has been established. Using transmission electron microscopy, eosinophils, in their various stages of activation, have been examined at each of the time points. The author observed activated eosinophils in association with the other lymphatic cells of the area. A confocal laser scanning microscope has been used to optically section and digitally reconstruct the three-dimensional structure of the Peyer's patch at each time point. Compartment specific stains and molecular markers have been used to perform dual-label studies of the eosinophil-cell interactions within the Peyer's patch. Dendritic cells, T-cells, and macrophages have been labeled and examined, using confocal techniques, as to their layout and presence at the specific time points during the infection. From these recent findings, it is our belief that eosinophils interact with other follicle-associated cells in the lymphoid structures of the small intestine as part of their protective function in parasite rejection.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only