Multiplex analysis of circulating cytokines in the sera of patients with different clinical forms of visceral leishmaniasis

Cytometry A. 2006 May;69(5):353-8. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.20256.


Background: The clinical spectrum of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), a chronic intracellular parasitic disease, ranges from a subclinical, asymptomatic infection to severe clinical disease (kala-azar). In experimental leishmaniasis, mice that have a Th1 response to infection tend to have limited disease while a Th2 response is associated with disease progression. Humans with VL most often have mixed rather than polarized responses. However, most clinical studies have used methods that require a relatively large sample volume, thus limiting their scope. Measuring multiple cytokine levels in blood samples using a multiplexed microsphere assay (MMA) may be useful to further evaluate the Th1/Th2 paradigm in humans.

Methods: Bangladeshi individuals (n=120) living in an area endemic for VL were categorized into one of the five clinical categories. Sera from these individuals were measured for levels of IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, IFN-gamma, and TNF-alpha by multiplexed microsphere cytokine immunoassay.

Results: Circulating IL-8, IL-10, and IL-12 differed significantly among the clinical groups. Persons with kala-azar demonstrated the highest median levels of IL-8 and IL-10 but lower median levels of IL-12.

Conclusions: The MMA for cytokines is an extremely time-and sample-efficient method for characterizing circulating cytokine levels in visceral leishmaniasis patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / instrumentation
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-12 / blood
  • Interleukin-8 / blood
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / diagnosis
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / immunology*
  • Microspheres*


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-8
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-12