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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2009 Jun;16(6):889-98. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00453-08. Epub 2009 Apr 29.

9-O-acetylated sialoglycoproteins are important immunomodulators in Indian visceral leishmaniasis.

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Infectious Diseases and Immunology Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, 4 Raja S. C. Mullick Road, Kolkata 700032, India.


Overexpression of disease-associated 9-O-acetylated sialoglycoproteins (9-O-AcSGPs) on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) patients (PBMC(VL)) compared to their levels of expression in healthy individuals has been demonstrated using a lectin, achatinin-H, with specificity toward 9-O-acetylated sialic acid derivatives alpha2-6 linkage with subterminal N-acetylgalactosamine (9-O-AcSAalpha2-6GalNAc). The decreased presence of disease-associated 9-O-AcSGPs on different immune cells of parasitologically cured individuals after successful treatment relative to the levels in patients with active VL prior to treatment was demonstrated. However, their contributory role as immunomodulatory determinants on PBMC(VL) remained unexplored. Accordingly, 9-O-AcSGPs on PBMC(VL) were sensitized with achatinin-H, leading to their enhanced proliferation compared to that observed with different known mitogens or parasite antigen. This lymphoproliferative response was characterized by evaluation of the TH1/TH2 response by intracellular staining and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for secreted cytokines, and the results were corroborated by their genetic expression. Sensitized PBMC(VL) evidenced a mixed TH1/TH2 cellular response with a predominance of the TH1 response, indicating the ability of 9-O-AcSGPs to modulate the host cell toward a favorable response. Interestingly, the humoral and cellular responses showed a good correlation. Further, high levels of anti-9-O-AcSGP antibodies with an order of distribution of immunoglobulin M (IgM) > IgG1 = IgG3 > IgG4 > IgG2 > IgE could be explained by a mixed TH1/TH2 response. A good correlation of enhanced 9-O-AcSGPs with both the cell-mediated (r = 0.98) and humoral (r = 0.99) response was observed. In summary, it may be concluded that sensitization of 9-O-AcSGPs on PBMC(VL) may provide a basis for the modulation of the host's immune response by their controlled expression, leading to a beneficial immune response and influencing the disease pathology.

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