Pythiosis is a life-threatening disease caused by the oomycete Pythium insidiosum. Some authors have suggested the involvement of a Th2-like immune response in the infected host, which leads to extensive tissue damage. The switch from a Th2 to a Th1 response pattern is one hypothesis to explain the curative properties of immunotherapy. Taking into account the importance of immunotherapy for pythiosis treatment and the contribution of adenine nucleotides in the immunoregulation of the host, we evaluated the ecto-adenosine deaminase (E-ADA; EC 3·5.4·4) activity in lymphocytes from rabbits inoculated with P. insidiosum. Rabbits were inoculated with 1 milliliter of zoospores subcutaneously injected into the lateral thorax; after developing lesions, the rabbits received eight doses of immunotherapy. E-ADA activity was measured in lymphocytes and the adenine nucleotides and adenosine levels were quantitatively determined in serum. Rabbits with characteristic lesions of pythiosis showed a decreased E-ADA activity (82·36%), a decreased adenosine triphosphate concentration (54·04%) and a higher adenosine concentration (2·51 fold), when compared with controls, after 28 days of inoculation. However, after the immunotherapy, the rabbits showed an increase in the E-ADA activity when compared with control (78·62%), contributing for the change in the immune response. Our results reinforce the hypothesis that the change from a Th2 to a Th1 immune response with the participation of the purinergic system could be responsible for the curative properties of immunotherapy.
Keywords: Pythium insidiosum; adenosine; adenosine deaminase; lymphocytes; pythiosis.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.