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J Clin Invest. 1993 Apr;91(4):1644-8.

In vivo cytokine profiles in patients with kala-azar. Marked elevation of both interleukin-10 and interferon-gamma.

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Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


The immunological mechanisms underlying the susceptibility to disseminated visceral parasitism of mononuclear phagocytes in patients with kala-azar remain undefined. Resistance and susceptibility are correlated with distinct patterns of cytokine production in murine models of disseminated leishmanial disease. To assess lesional cytokine profiles in patients with kala-azar, bone marrow aspirates were analyzed using a quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR technique to amplify specific mRNA sequences of multiple Th1-, Th2-, and/or macrophage-associated cytokines. Transcript levels of IL-10 as well as IFN-gamma were significantly elevated in patients with active visceral leishmaniasis; IL-10 levels decreased markedly with resolution of disease. These findings suggest that IL-10, a potent, pleiotropic suppressor of all known microbicidal effector functions of macrophages, may contribute to the pathogenesis of kala-azar by inhibiting the cytokine-mediated activation of host macrophages that is necessary for the control of leishmanial infection.

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