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Acta Trop. 1994 Apr;56(4):315-25.

Clinical and immunopathological aspects of disseminated cutaneous leishmaniasis.

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Servi├žo de Imunologia, Hospital Universit├írio Prof. Edgard Santos, Salvador, Brazil.


The clinico-pathological and immunological findings in eight patients from Bahia, Brazil with disseminated cutaneous leishmaniasis are described. This condition differs from anergic diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis (DCL) and from classical American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL). The number of lesions in these patients ranged from 75 to 800 and were characterized by papules and an acneiform type of lesion with a few ulcers rather than nodules that are the main characteristic of DCL. On the other hand the high incidence of mucosal disease (38%) in patients with disseminated cutaneous leishmaniasis make the prevalence of mucosal involvement in this condition higher than that observed in ACL. L. amazonensis (five cases) and L. braziliensis (two cases) were the causal agents in the patients where the infecting agent was characterized. Antibody titers in disseminated cutaneous leishmaniasis were higher than those observed in ACL and patients with the highest antibody titers had mucosal involvement. Abnormalities in cellular immunity that are not observed in ACL such as decrease in CD4+ cells and absence of T cell response to leishmania antigen were observed in several patients with disseminated cutaneous leishmaniasis but restoration of these abnormalities occurred after treatment. In spite of the great number of lesions, the therapeutic response was good in six patients with disappearance of the lesions in a period shorter than that observed in ACL. In the two patients that presented therapeutic failure the causal agent was L. amazonensis. In such patients there was a predominance of ulcerated lesions, and a high titer of antibody was detected.

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