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J Clin Invest. Apr 1993; 91(4): 1644–1648.
PMCID: PMC288142

In vivo cytokine profiles in patients with kala-azar. Marked elevation of both interleukin-10 and interferon-gamma.

Abstract

The immunological mechanisms underlying the susceptibility to disseminated visceral parasitism of mononuclear phagocytes in patients with kala-azar remain undefined. Resistance and susceptibility are correlated with distinct patterns of cytokine production in murine models of disseminated leishmanial disease. To assess lesional cytokine profiles in patients with kala-azar, bone marrow aspirates were analyzed using a quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR technique to amplify specific mRNA sequences of multiple Th1-, Th2-, and/or macrophage-associated cytokines. Transcript levels of IL-10 as well as IFN-gamma were significantly elevated in patients with active visceral leishmaniasis; IL-10 levels decreased markedly with resolution of disease. These findings suggest that IL-10, a potent, pleiotropic suppressor of all known microbicidal effector functions of macrophages, may contribute to the pathogenesis of kala-azar by inhibiting the cytokine-mediated activation of host macrophages that is necessary for the control of leishmanial infection.

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