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Hum Immunol. 2009 Jun;70(6):383-90. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2009.01.007. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

Th1/Th2 immune responses are associated with active cutaneous leishmaniasis and clinical cure is associated with strong interferon-gamma production.

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Laboratory of Immunology, Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


In leishmaniasis, Th1-related cytokines production seems to be crucial for host control of parasite burden and clinical cure. Visceral and diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis are characterized by negative skin test for parasite antigens and failure to produce Th1 cytokines, whereas tegumentary leishmaniasis is characterized by positive skin test and the ability of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to produce Th1 cytokines. In this study, specific antibody plasma levels and cytokine production in PBMC culture supernatants were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay in patients with active or cured cutaneous leishmanial lesions and in subjects without disease history living in the same endemic area. Higher tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interferon (IFN)-gamma, interleukin (IL)-12, IL-4, and IL-10 levels were observed in patients with active lesions, whereas cured subjects produced only IFN-gamma at elevated levels. Analysis of specific antibody isotypes correlate with cellular immune response observed in vitro, as the production of IgG1 and IgG3 was higher in patients with active lesions. Our results suggest the presence of a mixed Th1/Th2 response during active disease and that clinical cure is associated with a sustained Th1 response characterized by elevated IFN-gamma levels and down-modulation of IL-4 and IL-10 production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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