Caister Academic Press

Host Responses to infections with Leishmania

Fabienne Tacchini-Cottier and Pascal Launois
from: Leishmania: After The Genome (Edited by: Peter J. Myler and Nicolas Fasel). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2008)


The role of cytokines in human infectious diseases is becoming more and more recognized. Most of the knowledge gained on their importance in Leishmania infections has been obtained with animal models. In the murine model of infection with Leishmania major, a clear dichotomy is observed between cytokine production by draining lymph node cells of susceptible versus resistant mouse strains. In most inbred mouse strains such as C57BL/6 mice, s.c. infection with L. major results in the development of a protective T helper-1 (Th1) immune response with high levels of IFN-γ, and resistance to re-infection. In contrast, infection of susceptible strains such as BALB/c mice leads to the development of a Th2 immune response characterized by the production of IL-4 by draining lymph node cells. If the Th1 cytokine, IFN-γ, has been associated with protection against infection with most strains of Leishmania in both human and mice, the role of cytokines such as IL-4, IL-13 and IL-10 differ according to the Leishmania species. Understanding differences in the role of cytokines in infections with different strains of Leishmania should contribute to the design of better and more efficient therapies read more ...
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