Evaluation of amastigote reactive cells in human cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania aethiopica

K. Maasho, D. McMahon-Pratt, J. Raita, M. Raud, S. Britton, L. Soong, Hannah Akuffo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Lymphoproliferative responses to three affinity chromatography purified amastigote antigens of Leishmania pifanoi, P-2, P-4 and P-8, were evaluated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with Ethiopian cutaneous leishmaniasis. Antigen-stimulated cells were analysed for the percentage of CD4+, CD8+ and CD16/56+ cells and the expressed levels of gamma interferon (IFNγ) and interleukin (IL)-10 were determined in culture supernatants. The amastigote antigens induced cellular responses in leishmaniasis patients with heterologous Leishmania parasite infection. These responses were compared to those of freeze-thawed L. aethiopica promastigote antigen stimulation. The membrane protein (P-8), and to a lesser extent the megasomal/cytoplasmic cysteine proteinase(P-2), induced proliferation with high levels of IFNγ and IL-10 production in cells from patients with active L. aethiopica lesions. CD16/56+ NK cells were the main cell types induced to proliferate in response to P-8 and P-2 stimulation, followed by CD8+ cell populations. P-4 had no such effect. This contrasts from previous studies of New World human leishmaniasis where P-4 and P-8 were stimulatory. The success of a particular molecule in the induction of a response with a protective phenotype may be dependent on the infecting Leishmania spp. To our knowledge, there are no studies that directly compare the New versus Old World cutaneous leishmaniasis in respect of NK cell and IL-10 responses. Our studies indicate that some leishmanial molecules are recognized across the species, while others are apparently more species specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-322
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2003


  • Cellular responses
  • IL-10
  • Leishmania amastigote antigens
  • Natural killer cells (NK)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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