Diagnostics Industry / Disease States / Health

The role of IFNy in the immune response to Leishmania

Leishmania is a disease spread by certain types of sand-flies. There are three main ways in which it can present: cutaneous, mucocutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis, which have symptoms ranging from skin ulcers to an inflamed spleen or liver. The host’s ability to control/eliminate the parasite via their initial immune response plays a key role into the infection outcome, and various cytokines such as IFN-y, IL-4, IL-10 and IL-12, may be influential.

Study authors noted that the initial cell-mediated response was the crucial period in which the host can control the parasite, however the signals that initiate and regulate the initial response in the skin subset are poorly understood. Prior to this study investigators had examined the in situ expression of cytokine genes in patients with localized cutaneous leishmaniasis (LCL) caused by Leishmania mexicana. This research has been further developed in the present study (1) with the in situ examination of cytokine (IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, IFN-γ) and chemokine (MCP-1, MIP-1α) gene expression in mexicana active LCL lesions, and in the delayed hypersensitivity (DTH) skin response to Leishmania antigen in subjects with healed lesion and subclinical infection.

It was found that IL-12 gene expression in both the initial study group and the current study were similar, with a high expression of MCP-1 detected in patients with active LCL. When comparing healed lesions and subclinical infection groups there was no difference in the MCP-1 expression.

Lead investigators believe that in the absence of IFNy, IL-12 and MCP-1 may be playing a crucial role in the infection outcome at skin level.

Reference: Science Direct


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