Indexed on: 27 Aug '14Published on: 27 Aug '14Published in: Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)
Previously, we showed that genetically modified live-attenuated Leishmania donovani parasite cell lines (LdCen(-/-) and Ldp27(-/-)) induce a strong cellular immunity and provide protection against visceral leishmaniasis in mice. In this study, we explored the mechanism of cross-protection against cutaneous lesion-causing Leishmania mexicana. Upon challenge with wild-type L. mexicana, mice immunized either for short or long periods showed significant protection. Immunohistochemical analysis of ears from immunized/challenged mice exhibited significant influx of macrophages, as well as cells expressing MHC class II and inducible NO synthase, suggesting an induction of potent host-protective proinflammatory responses. In contrast, substantial inhibition of IL-10, IL-4, and IL-13 expression and the absence of degranulated mast cells and less influx of eosinophils within the ears of immunized/challenged mice suggested a controlled anti-inflammatory response. L. mexicana Ag-stimulated lymph node cell culture from the immunized/challenged mice revealed induction of IFN-γ secretion by the CD4 and CD8 T cells compared with non-immunized/challenged mice. We also observed suppression of Th2 cytokines in the culture supernatants of immunized/challenged lymph nodes compared with non-immunized/challenged mice. Adoptively transferred total T cells from immunized mice conferred strong protection in recipient mice against L. mexicana infection, suggesting that attenuated L. donovani can provide protection against heterologous L. mexicana parasites by induction of a strong T cell response. Furthermore, bone marrow-derived dendritic cells infected with LdCen(-/-) and Ldp27(-/-) parasites were capable of inducing a strong proinflammatory response leading to the proliferation of Th1 cells. These studies demonstrate the potential of live-attenuated L. donovani parasites as pan-Leishmania species vaccines.