To elucidate the mechanism of anemia caused by Babesia gibsoni infection in dogs, the erythrophagocytic activity of macrophages in infected dogs was investigated in vitro. In the present study, macrophages obtained from peripheral blood (PB-macrophages) and bone marrow (BM-macrophages) of splenectomized dogs with chronic B. gibsoni infection were examined. The BM-macrophages in the splenectomized dogs with chronic babesiosis exhibited an increased erythrophagocytic activity compared with those from splenectomized, non-infected dogs. In the infected dogs, erythrophagocytic activities of macrophages against both auto- and iso-erythorcytes from normal dogs were almost the same. Administration of an anti-protozoal drug, diminazene diaceturate, resulted in a decrease of the erythrophagocytic activity of BM-macrophages associated with an increase of the hematocrit value in splenectomized dogs with chronic babesiosis. In splenectomized dogs with acute babesiosis, erythrophagocytic activity of BM-macrophages was also elevated. Such a phenomenon was not, however, observed in splenectomized dogs with onion-induced hemolytic anemia. These results suggest that the erythrophagocytic ability of macrophages in the infected dogs might be accelerated by parasites per se through an unknown machanism, resulting in severe anemia in spite of low parasitemia.
The Japanese Society of Veterinary Science