Monocyte cytokine and costimulatory molecule expression in patients infected with Leishmania mexicana

Parasite Immunol. 2007 Mar;29(3):117-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3024.2006.00924.x.


Leishmania mexicana causes localized and diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis. Patients with localized cutaneous leishmaniasis (LCL) develop a benign disease, whereas patients with diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis (DCL) suffer from a progressive disease associated with anergy of the cellular response towards Leishmania antigens. We evaluated the production of the interleukins (IL) IL-12, IL-15, IL-18 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and the expression of the costimulatory molecules CD40, B7-1 and B7-2 in monocytes from LCL and DCL patients, stimulated in vitro with Leishmania mexicana lipophosphoglycan (LPG) for 18 h. LCL monocytes significantly increased TNF-alpha, IL-15 and IL-18 production, and this increase was associated with reduced amounts of IL-12. DCL monocytes produced no IL-15 or IL-18 and showed a decreasing tendency of TNF-alpha and IL-12 production as the severity of the disease increased. No difference was observed in the expression of CD40 and B7-1 between both groups of patients, yet B7-2 expression was significantly augmented in DCL patients. It remains to be established if this elevated B7-2 expression in DCL patients is cause or consequence of the Th2-type immune response that characterizes these patients. These data suggest that the diminished ability of the monocytes from DCL patients to produce cell-activating innate proinflammatory cytokines when stimulated with LPG is a possible cause for disease progression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • B7-1 Antigen / metabolism
  • B7-2 Antigen / metabolism
  • CD40 Antigens / metabolism
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glycosphingolipids / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-12 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-15 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-18 / biosynthesis
  • Leishmania mexicana / immunology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / immunology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Diffuse Cutaneous / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • B7-1 Antigen
  • B7-2 Antigen
  • CD40 Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • Glycosphingolipids
  • Interleukin-15
  • Interleukin-18
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • lipophosphonoglycan
  • Interleukin-12