The effect of alpha-tocopherol transfer protein gene disruption on Trypanosoma congolense infection in mice

Free Radic Biol Med. 2009 Nov 15;47(10):1408-13. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2009.08.009. Epub 2009 Aug 18.


At present 15 to 20 million people are estimated to be infected with pathogenic trypanosome parasites worldwide, mainly in developing countries. There are a number of factors that affect the severity of trypanosomiasis, including the nutritional status of the host. However, the relationship between micronutrient levels and trypanosomiasis outcome has yet to be reported in detail. Here, we demonstrate that the inhibition of alpha-tocopherol transfer protein, a determinant of the vitamin E concentration in host circulation, confers resistance to Trypanosoma congolense infection, evidently owing to oxidative damage to parasite DNA. These results suggest that transient inhibition of alpha-tocopherol transfer gene activity could possibly be exploited as a strategy for both the prevention and the treatment of trypanosomiasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Trypanosoma congolense / immunology*
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / genetics*
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / immunology
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / veterinary
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology
  • Vitamin E Deficiency / genetics
  • Vitamin E Deficiency / immunology


  • Antioxidants
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • alpha-tocopherol transfer protein
  • Vitamin E