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Infect Immun. 2004 Jan;72(1):508-14.

Multiclonal Leishmania braziliensis population structure and its clinical implication in a region of endemicity for American tegumentary leishmaniasis.

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  • 1Serviço de Imunologia, Hospital Universitário Professor Edgard Santos, Universidade Federal da Bahia and Instituto de Investigação em Imunologia, Salvador/Bahia, Brazil.


In Corte de Pedra (CP), northeastern Brazil, Leishmania braziliensis causes three distinct forms of American tegumentary leishmaniasis (ATL). To test the hypothesis that strain polymorphism may be involved in this disease spectrum and accurately characterize the parasite population structure in CP, we compared one L. major, two non-CP L. braziliensis, one CP L. amazonensis, and 45 CP L. braziliensis isolates, obtained over a 10-year period from localized cutaneous, mucosal, and disseminated leishmaniasis patients, with randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). Electrophoretic profiles were mostly unique across species. All typing protocols revealed polymorphism among the 45 CP L. braziliensis isolates, which displayed eight different RAPD patterns and greater than 80% overall fingerprint identity, attesting to the adequacy of the tools to assess strain variability in CP's geographically limited population of parasites. The dendrogram based on the sum of RAPD profiles of each isolate unveiled nine discrete typing units clustered into five clades. Global positioning showed extensive overlap of these clades in CP, precluding geographic sequestration as the mechanism of the observed structuralization. Finally, all forms of ATL presented a statistically significant difference in their frequencies among the clades, suggesting that L. braziliensis genotypes may be accompanied by specific disease manifestation after infection.

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