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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2000 Mar;7(2):233-40.

Use of an attenuated leishmanial parasite as an immunoprophylactic and immunotherapeutic agent against murine visceral leishmaniasis.

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Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Calcutta-700 032, India.


The ability of the leishmanial parasite UR6 to act as an immunoprophylactic and immunotherapeutic agent against Leishmania donovani infection in BALB/c mice was investigated. Unlike the virulent L. donovani AG83 (MOHOM/IN/1983/AG83), UR6 given through intracardiac route failed to induce visceral infection, but when it was injected subcutaneously, UR6 induced a short-lived and localized self-healing skin lesion. Priming of peritoneal macrophages with UR6 in vitro induced superoxide (O(2)(-)) generation, whereas similar experiments with virulent AG83 inhibited O(2)(-) generation. It was observed that priming of mice with either live or sonicated UR6 in the absence of any adjuvant provided strong protection against subsequent virulent challenge. Further, UR6-primed infected mice not only displayed a strong antileishmanial delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response but also showed an elevated level of the serum antileishmanial immunoglobulin G2a (IgG2a) isotype, whereas infected mice failed to mount any antileishmanial DTH response and showed an elevated level of IgG1. This indicates that UR6 priming and subsequent L. donovani infection allowed the expansion of Th1 cells. Our studies indicate that UR6 has potential to be used as an immunoprophylactic and immunotherapeutic agent against experimental visceral leishmaniasis.

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