Leishmania parasites and their ploys to disrupt macrophage activation

Curr Opin Hematol. 2000 Jan;7(1):26-31. doi: 10.1097/00062752-200001000-00006.


Leishmania are intracellular protozoan parasites of macrophages. At the cellular level, the disease leishmaniasis involves the invasion of tissue macrophages by the parasite, the avoidance of cellular killing mechanisms, and the subsequent intracellular replication of parasites, with the eventual spread of the organisms to adjacent macrophages. This paper describes the process by which Leishmania organisms invade macrophages, with an overview of some of the molecules involved in this process; the mechanisms available to macrophages that have the potential to restrict the growth of Leishmania within them; and the ways that Leishmania and Leishmania-derived molecules can modulate macrophage functions and circumvent leukocyte antimicrobial responses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Leishmania / growth & development
  • Leishmania / parasitology*
  • Leishmaniasis / pathology
  • Leishmaniasis / physiopathology
  • Ligands
  • Macrophage Activation / physiology*
  • Macrophages / parasitology*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Cell Surface