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Infect Immun. Dec 1982; 38(3): 1208–1216.
PMCID: PMC347877

Leishmaniasis in beige mice.


The courses of two protozoal diseases, cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis, were examined in three groups of C57BL/6J mice. One group of mice was homozygous recessive for the beige gene (bg/bg). Beige mice are the genetic homologue of the human Chédiak-Higashi syndrome and, among other defects, are profoundly deficient in natural killer cell activity. Wild-type (+/+) mice, which respond to experimental cutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis by eventually eliminating their parasites, and heterozygous beige (bg/+) mice served as controls; both are phenotypically normal in natural killer cell activity, which is particularly high in the spleen. In bg/bg mice, the course of Leishmania tropica, a causative agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis, was similar to that in control mice after both primary and challenge inoculations. All groups of mice expressed similar humoral and cellular immune responses to L. tropica antigen. However, bg/bg mice failed to eliminate amastigotes of Leishmania donovani, a causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis, from their spleens over an observation period of 56 days, in contrast to bg/+ and +/+ controls. Similar levels of anti-leishmanial antibody were produced by all groups of mice, and all mice responded comparably to footpad injections of L. donovani antigen. The results of this study suggest a possible role for natural killer cells in recovery from L. donovani but not from L. tropica infection.

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Selected References

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