Early Enhanced Th1 Response after Leishmania amazonensis Infection of C57BL/6 Interleukin-10-Deficient Mice Does Not Lead to Resolution of Infection

Jones, Douglas
Ackermann, Mark
Ackermann, Mark
Wille, Ulrike
Hunter, Christopher
Scott, Phillip
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Veterinary Pathology
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Veterinary Pathology

C3H and C57BL/6 mice are resistant to Leishmania major but develop chronic lesions with persistent parasite loads when they are infected with Leishmania amazonensis. These lesions develop in the absence of interleukin-4 (IL-4), indicating that susceptibility to this parasite is not a result of development of a Th2 response. Expression of the cytokine IL-10 during infection could account for the lack of IL-12 expression and poor cell-mediated immunity towards the parasite. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that IL-10 plays a central role in downmodulating the Th1 response after L. amazonensis infection. Infection of C57BL/6 IL-10-deficient mice indicated that in the absence of IL-10 there was early enhancement of a Th1 response, which was downregulated during the more chronic stage of infection. In addition, although there were 1- to 2-log reductions in the parasite loads within the lesions, the parasites continued to persist, and they were associated with chronic lesions whose size was similar to that of the control lesions. These experiments indicated that L. amazonensisresistance to killing in vivo is only partially dependent on expression of host IL-10. However, IL-10-deficient mice had an enhanced delayed-type hypersensitivity response during the chronic phase of infection, indicating that there were Th1 type effector cells in vivo at this late stage of infection. These results indicate that although IL-10 plays a role in limiting the Th1 response during the acute infection phase, other immunomodulatory factors are responsible for limiting the Th1 response during the chronic phase.


This article is from Infection and Immunity 70, no. 4 (April 2002): 2151–2158, doi:10.1128/IAI.70.4.2151-2158.2002.