Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013;7(1):e1977. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001977. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Arginase activity in the blood of patients with visceral leishmaniasis and HIV infection.

Author information

Gondar University Leishmaniasis Research and Treatment Centre, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia.

Erratum in

  • PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013 Jan;7(1). doi: 10.1371/annotation/9e89dee8-e2b7-4559-bd4e-933692403410.



Visceral leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease associated with high mortality. The most important foci of visceral leishmaniasis in Ethiopia are in the Northwest and are predominantly associated with high rates of HIV co-infection. Co-infection of visceral leishmaniasis patients with HIV results in higher mortality, treatment failure and relapse. We have previously shown that arginase, an enzyme associated with immunosuppression, was increased in patients with visceral leishmaniasis and in HIV seropositive patients; further our results showed that high arginase activity is a marker of disease severity. Here, we tested the hypothesis that increased arginase activities associated with visceral leishmaniasis and HIV infections synergize in patients co-infected with both pathogens.


We recruited a cohort of patients with visceral leishmaniasis and a cohort of patients with visceral leishmaniasis and HIV infection from Gondar, Northwest Ethiopia, and recorded and compared their clinical data. Further, we measured the levels of arginase activity in the blood of these patients and identified the phenotype of arginase-expressing cells. Our results show that CD4(+) T cell counts were significantly lower and the parasite load in the spleen was significantly higher in co-infected patients. Moreover, our results demonstrate that arginase activity was significantly higher in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and plasma of co-infected patients. Finally, we identified the cells-expressing arginase in the PBMCs as low-density granulocytes.


Our results suggest that increased arginase might contribute to the poor disease outcome characteristic of patients with visceral leishmaniasis and HIV co-infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center