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Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical

Print version ISSN 0037-8682

Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. vol.5 no.3 Uberaba May/June 1971 

Efecto de la temperatura de la piel en la leishmaniasis cutanea experimental



Rodrigo Zeledón

Universidad de Costa Rica




The literature on the thermosensitive properties of strains or species of Leishmania and of other miercorganisms is revised. Cutaneous or mucocutaneous strains that infect animais in the coldest areas of the skin or mucosa in general can not grow in tissue culture at 37°C or higher temperatures and their respiratory metabolism decreases at these temperatures. These facts suggest a thermosensitive event in some important metabolism phase of the organisme. The strains or species that are able to produce visceral leishmaniasis were probably originated from cutaneous strains after genetioally determined physiological adaptation, to warmer temperatures. These strains can not only visceralize in animais and man but will also grow in tissue culture at 36-37°C and the respiratory metabolism will be higher at such temperatures. There are reasons to believe that intermediate strains, i. e., with properties of both groupsí do exist.
A thermosensitive physiological event is a more general phenomenon and examples of it can also be found in the fields of virology, bacteriology and mycology.
It has practical applications since some of the diseases produced by these agents can be cured by treatments with heat or artificial fever.
Experiments along these line were performed on hamsters with a Costa Rican strain of L. braziliensis as an experimental model. Even after intraperitoneal inoculation lesions appear in the nose, ears, paws and tail with a subcutaneous temperature bellow 33°C at 22-24°C.
Healing of the lesión is accomplished by increasing room temperature. A good lesión is produced in the rump of the animal if the area is depilated (comercial cream depilatory) previously and the naked skin cooled artificially. Elevated temperature, or the growing back of the hair will tend to diminish or cure the lesion.



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Recibido para publicación el 18.2.71.



Trabajo presentado a la Mesa redonda "Leishmaniasis", VII Congresso Brasileiro de Medicina Tropical, Manaus, 14-18 febrero, 1971. Parte del trabajo relatado se hijo con la ayuda del subsidio TW 00148 del Servicio de Salud Pública de los Estados Unidos (NIAID) y con la ayuda del subsidio DADA-17-68-G-9254 de la U.S. Army Medical Research & Development Command.

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