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Vet Parasitol. 2013 Feb 18;192(1-3):57-66. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.11.002. Epub 2012 Nov 10.

Pro-inflammatory cytokines predominate in the brains of dogs with visceral leishmaniasis: a natural model of neuroinflammation during systemic parasitic infection.

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UNESP - Univ Estadual Paulista, College of Veterinary Medicine, Araçatuba, São Paulo, Brazil.


Visceral leishmaniasis is a multisystemic zoonotic disease that can manifest with several symptoms, including neurological disorders. To investigate the pathogenesis of brain alterations occurring during visceral leishmaniasis infection, the expression of the cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p40, IFN-γ, TGF-β and TNF-α and their correlations with peripheral parasite load were evaluated in the brains of dogs naturally infected with Leishmania infantum. IL-1β, IFN-γ and TNF-α were noticeably up-regulated, and IL-10, TGF-β and IL-12p40 were down-regulated in the brains of infected dogs. Expression levels did not correlate with parasite load suggestive that the brain alterations are due to the host's immune response regardless of the phase of the disease. These data indicate the presence of a pro-inflammatory status in the nervous milieu of dogs with visceral leishmaniasis especially because IL-1β and TNF-α are considered key factors for the initiation, maintenance and persistence of inflammation.

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