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Glycobiology. 2001 Dec;11(12):1035-42.

KM(+), a lectin from Artocarpus integrifolia, induces IL-12 p40 production by macrophages and switches from type 2 to type 1 cell-mediated immunity against Leishmania major antigens, resulting in BALB/c mice resistance to infection.

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Departamento de Biologia Celular e Molecular e Bioagentes Patogênicos, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP 14040-900, Brazil.


The outcome and severity of some diseases correlate with the dominance of either the T helper 1 (Th1) or Th2 immune response, which is stimulated by IL-12 or IL-4, respectively. In the present study we demonstrate that gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) secretion by murine spleen cells stimulated with KM(+), a mannose-binding lectin from Artocarpus integrifolia, is due to IL-12 induction, because (1) macrophages from several sources (including cell lines) produced IL-12 p40 in response to KM(+), and (2) lectin-free supernatants from J774 cell line cultures stimulated with KM(+) induced the secretion of IFN-gamma by spleen cell cultures, an effect blocked by the supernatant pretreatment with anti-IL-12 antibody. The known pattern of susceptibility of BALB/c mice to infection with Leishmania major, attributed to high levels of IL-4 production leading to a Th2 nonprotective immune response, was modified by administration of KM(+). Draining lymph node cells from these immunized BALB/c mice (in contrast to cells from animals immunized only with soluble leishmanial antigen [SLA]) secreted high levels of IFN-gamma and low levels of IL-4, which characterized a Th1 rather than a Th2 response pattern. The footpad thickness of BALB/c mice immunized with SLA plus KM(+) and challenged with L. major was similar to that of uninfected mice. This beneficial effect against leishmanial infection was blocked by pretreatment of these mice with anti-IL-12 antibody. These observations indicate that KM(+) induces IL-12 p40 in vivo and has a protective effect against L. major infection.

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