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Indian J Med Res. 2006 Mar;123(3):245-66.

Immune responses in kala-azar.

Author information

1
Infectious Diseases Group, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, India.

Abstract

Human infection with Leishmania results in diverse clinical and immunopathological situations. The capacity of the parasites to cause this wide range of disease manifestations depends upon their ability to evade the immune defense mechanisms by performing a well-tuned orchestra of hostparasite interactions inside the macrophages. While updated knowledge focus on the key role of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) in protection, the survival strategies of the parasites leads to the suppression of CMI which can further be aggravated by the co-infections with HIV, tuberculosis etc. The present review describes the immune mechanisms in human leishmaniasis with a special attention to visceral leishmaniasis or kala-azar, one of the most important epidemiological health problems in Indian subcontinent. Modulations of the both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses during asymptomatic infections, active disease and after successful chemotherapy are discussed. The components responsible for the regulation of the critical balance of Th1/Th2 type of responses are re-evaluated. Co-infection of HIV and visceral leishmaniasis and their interdependence has been addressed. Although the specific role of an elevated humoral response in kala-azar is yet to be established, attempts for its application in diagnosis, precisely for the development of field diagnostic techniques, are presented. Also discussed are attempts to utilize the immunogenic potentials of different leishmanial antigens in the development of anti-leishmanial vaccines.

PMID:
16778308
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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