Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, an extracellular eukaryotic flagellate parasite, is the main etiological agent of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) or sleeping sickness. Dendritic cells (DCs) play a pivotal role at the interface between innate and adaptive immune response and are implicated during HAT. In this study, we investigated the effects of T gambiense and its excreted/secreted factors (ESF) on the phenotype of human monocyte-derived DCs (Mo-DCs). Mo-DCs were cultured with trypanosomes, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), ESF derived from T gambiense bloodstream strain Biyamina (MHOM/SD/82), or both ESF and LPS. Importantly, ESF reduced the expression of the maturation markers HLA-DR and CD83, as well as the secretion of IL-12, TNF-alpha and IL-10, in LPS-stimulated Mo-DCs. During mixed-leucocyte reactions, LPS- plus ESF-exposed DCs induced a non-significant decrease in the IFN-gamma/IL-10 ratio of CD4 + T-cell cytokines. Based on the results presented here, we raise the hypothesis that T gambiense has developed an immune escape strategy through the secretion of paracrine mediators in order to limit maturation and activation of human DCs. The identification of the factor(s) in the T gambiense ESF and of the DCs signalling pathway(s) involved may be important in the development of new therapeutic targets.
Keywords: dendritic cell < cell; inflammation < disease; trypanosomiasis < disease.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.