Patients with paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) display a certain degree of immunecompromise characterized by lymphocyte hyporesponsiveness to the main Paracoccidioides brasiliensis antigen (gp43). To determine whether cytokines are involved in this state, we evaluated the secretion of IL-2, IL-10 and IFN-gamma by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with the acute (AF) and chronic (CF) forms of PCM and from healthy, P. brasiliensis-sensitized subjects. gp43-stimulated PBMC from healthy subjects produced substantial amounts of IL-2, IFN-gamma and IL-10, whereas PBMC from AF and CF patients produced low levels of IL-2 and IFN-gamma but substantial amounts of IL-10. Phytohaemagglutinin-induced cytokine secretion was comparable among AF and CF patients and healthy subjects, suggesting integrity of non-specific cellular immune mechanisms in PCM. gp43-pulsed adherent cells, but not non-adherent cells, were the main source of IL-10. Moreover, IL-2 and IFN-gamma secretion correlated inversely with the amount of specific antibodies produced by patients and healthy subjects. Our results suggest that the imbalance in cytokine production of patients with PCM plays a role in the gp43-hyporesponsiveness and the marked (non-protective) antibody production of these patients.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.