HIV--Leishmania infantum co-infection: humoral and cellular immune responses to the parasite after chemotherapy

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. May-Jun 2000;94(3):328-32. doi: 10.1016/s0035-9203(00)90345-6.


Specific serum antibodies, peripheral blood T-cell subsets, cellular response in vitro to soluble Leishmania antigens, phenotype of stimulated cells, and serum levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta 1 were studied in Spain in 17 patients co-infected with HIV and Leishmania infantum who had been previously treated with pentavalent antimony. Both humoral and cellular responses to Leishmania sp. appeared diminished, 8 out of 17 patients were positive by indirect immunofluorescence, and immunoblotting detected heterogeneous antibody-binding pattern in 11 out of 13 subjects. A blastogenesis test was positive in 4 cases; 2 of them presented proliferation of CD4+ cells while CD8+ cells proliferated in the other 2 patients. Serum levels of TNF-alpha were similar to those observed in patients infected with HIV only, while serum levels of TGF-beta 1 were significantly lower in the co-infected patients. The inability of antibody response to control the parasite and the absence of specific T-cell immunity to Leishmania sp. would explain the high frequency of relapses reported in these patients. The decreased levels of TGF-beta 1 could have an important role in the interaction between the 2 pathogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / analysis*
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Leishmania infantum / immunology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / drug therapy
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Cytokines