The levels of protection found in vaccine studies of murine visceral leishmaniasis are significantly lower than for cutaneous leishmaniasis; whether this is due to the high-challenge murine model employed and/or is a consequence of differences required in tissue-specific local immune responses is not understood. Consequently, an intradermal murine model of visceral leishmaniasis has been explored. Intradermal inoculation established a chronic infection in susceptible mice which was associated with a pattern of parasite clearance with time postinfection in the liver and skin; in contrast, parasite persistence and expansion was observed in lymphoid tissue (spleen and draining lymph node). The course of disease found appears to be similar to those reported for subclinical canine and human visceral leishmaniasis. Clearance of parasites from the skin was correlated with an inflammatory response and the infiltration and activation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. In contrast, in lymphoid tissue (lymph node or spleen), the production of Th1/Th2 cytokines (interleukin-4 [IL-4], IL-10, and gamma interferon) appeared to correlate with parasite burden and pathogenesis. In vaccination experiments employing the Leishmania infantum D-13 (p80) antigen, significantly higher levels of protection were found with the intradermal murine model (29 to 7,500-fold more than naive controls) than were found with a low-dose intravenous infection model (9 to 173-fold). Thus, this model should prove useful for further investigation of disease pathogenesis as well as vaccine studies of visceral leishmaniasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases