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Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2016;14(4):435-42. doi: 10.1586/14787210.2016.1160779.

Host resistance to visceral leishmaniasis: prevalence and prevention.

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a Departamento de Microbiologia Geral , Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro , Rio de Janeiro , Brazil.
b Instituto de BiofĂ­sica Carlos Chagas F ilho , Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro , Rio de Janeiro , Brazil.


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a chronic parasitic disease caused by the vector-borne Leishmania donovani and Leishmania (L.) infantum chagasi parasites. The disease affects about 12 million humans in more than 90 countries worldwide. If not treated, the visceral form of Leishmania infection is potentially fatal, yielding about 50000 deaths per year. In the vertebrate host, the Leishmania species causing VL spread systematically to propagate in macrophage reservoirs distributed in the tissues of internal organs, primarily the liver, spleen, bone marrow and the lymph nodes. The infection is associated with evolved mechanisms from the parasite to subvert the host immune system in order to establish a persistent infection. Currently, efforts are being deployed to develop new anti-leishmanial therapies in VL combining immunomodulatory treatment regimens that burst the host immune responses together with leishmanicidal drugs that target the parasite growth. Discoveries in this field are discussed in this article.


Infectious disease; immunology; leishmania; therapy; visceral leishmaniasis

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