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Microbes Infect. 2002 Feb;4(2):139-44.

Cytokines and lymphocyte proliferation in juvenile and adult forms of paracoccidioidomycosis: comparison with infected and non-infected controls.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas Medical School, PO Box 6111, 13083-970, SP, Campinas, Brazil.


Cellular immune response to Paracoccidiodes brasiliensis antigens (PbAg) was evaluated in patients with the juvenile (JF) and adult (AF) forms of paracoccidioidomycosis as well as in a group of infected individuals living in the endemic area but without any clinical manifestation of the disease. The immune profile of this group of paracoccidioidomycosis-infected individuals was characterized by: 1) a positive skin test to P. brasiliensis antigen; 2) absence of specific antibodies; 3) a vigorous lymphoproliferative response to PbAg; and 4) a typical Th1 pattern of cytokines, with production of IFN-gamma and basal levels of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10. At the opposite end of the spectrum were the JF patients whose proliferative response to PbAg was significantly impaired and whose cytokine pattern was characteristically Th2, i.e. lower IFN-gamma secretion and significantly higher levels of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10. These profiles are compatible with forms of higher and lower resistance, respectively. Intermediate immune responses were observed in AF patients, whose specific lymphoproliferative response was lower than in the paracoccidioidomycosis-infected group but higher than in the JF patients. The secretion of IFN-gamma and IL-10 did not differ from the JF group, although IL-4 and IL-5 levels were significantly lower. Since AF patients are able to control fungal dissemination for decades, they can be considered more resistant than JF patients, who manifest the disease soon after infection.

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