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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 1999 Jan-Feb;94(1):55-66.

Immunotherapy for visceral leishmaniasis: ability of factors produced during anti-leishmania responses of skin test positive adults to inhibit peripheral blood mononuclear cell activities associated with visceral leishmaniasis.

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  • 1Núcleo de Medicina Tropical, Universidade Federal do Ceará, CE, Brasil.


The course of human Leishmania chagasi infections appears to be determined by the balance between type 1 (Tl) CD4+ and CD8+ T suppressor (Ts) cell activities. Skin test positive adults living in hyperendemic areas who have no history of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) have Tl CD4+ T cell immunodominant responses against L. chagasi. The cytokines they secrete during anti-leishmania responses are a probable source of cytokines which inhibit the CD8+ Ts cells associated with VL. The ability of supernatants generated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells derived from skin test positive adults to reverse immune responses which appear to be mediated by CD8+ Ts cells was assessed in three sets of screening assays. The supernatants displayed three candidate factors. One, which could be explained by Leishmania antigens in the supernatant, decreased high endogenous IL-10 secretion characteristic of one class of VL patients. A second activity decreased high endogenous proliferation characteristic of the same class of patients without decreasing antigen specific proliferation. The third activity inhibited or killed CD8+ T cells but not CD4+ T cells. These activities might be useful in treating VL.

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