African Health Sciences

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Plasma ACTH concentration and pituitary gland histo-pathology in rats infected with

Charles Irungu Maina


Background: Human African trypanosomiasis is one of the neglected and re-emerging infectious diseases in Africa with over 60 million people being at risk of contracting the disease.
Objective: To investigate the effects of Trypanosoma brucei brucei infection on secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and histology of the pituitary gland and paraventricular nucleus in rats.
Methods: Rats were randomly divided into two groups, control and experimental. Experimental rats were injected intraperitonially with 0.2ml of blood containing 1.0 x 104 live T.b.brucei parasites. Tail blood samples were collected weekly for the determination of plasma concentration of ACTH. The pituitary gland and coronal section of brain were processed histologically and observed microscopically.
Results: There was a significant difference (p = 0.0190) in plasma ACTH concentration between the control and experimental rats. Histological alterations were observed in both the pituitary and paraventricular nucleus of experimental rats.
Conclusion: T.b.brucei infection causes histological changes in both the paraventricular nucleus and pituitary gland in rats. These histological changes could account for the decrease in corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) and ACTH production in the infected rats.

Keywords: Trypanosomiasis, paraventricular nucleus, pituitary gland, ACTH
AJOL African Journals Online