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PLoS Pathog. 2012;8(7):e1002827. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002827. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

IL-10-producing Th1 cells and disease progression are regulated by distinct CD11c⁺ cell populations during visceral leishmaniasis.

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  • 1Centre for Immunology & Infection, Hull York Medical School and Department of Biology, University of York, York, United Kingdom.


IL-10 is a critical regulatory cytokine involved in the pathogenesis of visceral leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania donovani and clinical and experimental data indicate that disease progression is associated with expanded numbers of CD4⁺ IFNγ⁺ T cells committed to IL-10 production. Here, combining conditional cell-specific depletion with adoptive transfer, we demonstrate that only conventional CD11c(hi) DCs that produce both IL-10 and IL-27 are capable of inducing IL-10-producing Th1 cells in vivo. In contrast, CD11c(hi) as well as CD11c(int/lo) cells isolated from infected mice were capable of reversing the host protective effect of diphtheria toxin-mediated CD11c⁺ cell depletion. This was reflected by increased splenomegaly, inhibition of NO production and increased parasite burden. Thus during chronic infection, multiple CD11c⁺ cell populations can actively suppress host resistance and enhance immunopathology, through mechanisms that do not necessarily involve IL-10-producing Th1 cells.

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