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J Infect Dis. 1996 Jun;173(6):1515-8.

Interleukin-12 restores interferon-gamma production and cytotoxic responses in visceral leishmaniasis.

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  • 1Immunology Service of Hospital Universit├írio Professor Edgard Santos, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil.


American visceral leishmaniasis (AVL) is associated with the absence of lymphocyte proliferative responses and interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production upon stimulation with Leishmania antigen. In contrast, cure of AVL is associated with restoration of these T cell functions. In the present study, the ability of IL-12, a cytokine that acts on NK and T cells to restore cellular immune responses in AVL, was evaluated. Participants of the study included 12 patients with AVL and 7 subjects cured of AVL. The [3H]thymidine uptake and IFN-gamma production in cultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (from AVL patients) stimulated with Leishmania chagasi antigen were 882 +/- 1393 cpm and zero, respectively. Addition of IL-12 enhanced the proliferative response to 5097 +/- 6429 cpm (P < .001) and IFN-gamma production to 305 +/- 325 pg/mL (P < .01). IL-12 also restored cytotoxic activity against the K562 cell line. These results indicate that IL-12 has an important role in the regulation of the cellular immune response in human leishmaniasis.

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