Volume 64 (2002) Issue 6 Pages 457-461
The effects of male and female sex hormones on the protective capacity of Wistar rats against infection with Strongyloides venezuelensis were investigated. Male rats were more susceptible than females in terms of worm recovery from the lungs. Orchidectomy of male animals significantly reduced the plasma testosterone concentration and increased host resistance to the migratory stages of S. venezuelensis larvae. In contrast, ovariectomy of female animals significantly decreased host resistance in association with a significant reduction of estrogen levels. To examine the direct effect of sex hormones, exogenous testosterone and estrogen were implanted into animals. Susceptibility significantly increased or decreased in ovariectomized females given testosterone or estrogen, respectively. These results suggest that male and female sex hormones are important in the down- and up-regulation of host resistance against S. venezuelensis in Wistar rats.