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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Abstract

AMARAL, VF et al. Leishmania (Leishmania major-infected rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) develop varying levels of resistance against homologous re-infections. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz [online]. 2001, vol.96, n.6, pp.795-804. ISSN 0074-0276.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0074-02762001000600010.

Seven rhesus macaques were infected intradermally with 107 promastigotes of Leishmania  (Leishmania)  major. All monkeys developed a localized, ulcerative, self-healing nodular skin lesion at the site of inoculation of the parasite. Non-specific chronic inflammation and/or tuberculoid-type granulomatous reaction were the main histopathological manifestations of the disease. Serum Leishmania-specific antibodies (IgG and IgG1) were detected by ELISA in all infected animals; immunoblot analyses indicated that numerous antigens were recognized. A very high degree of variability was observed in the parasite-specific cell-mediated immune responses [as detected by measuring delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction, in vitro lymphocyte proliferation, and gamma interferon (IFN-g) production] for individuals over time post challenge. From all the recovered monkeys (which showed resolution of the lesions after 11 weeks of infection), 57.2% (4/7) and 28.6% (2/7) animals remained susceptible to secondary and tertiary infections, respectively, but the disease severity was altered (i.e. lesion size was smaller and healed faster than in the primary infection). The remaining monkeys exhibited complete resistance (i.e. no lesion) to each rechallenge. Despite the inability to consistently detect correlates of cell-mediated immunity to Leishmania or correlation between resistance to challenge and DTH, lymphocyte transformation or IFN-g production, partial or complete acquired resistance was conferred by experimental infection. This primate model should be useful for measuring vaccine effectiveness against the human disease.

Keywords : rhesus macaques; Macaca mulatta; nonhuman primates; experimental leishmaniasis; Leishmania (L.) major; immune responses; histopathology.

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