Variability of Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum among stocks from immunocompromised, immunocompetent patients and dogs in Spain

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1995 Sep 1;131(2):197-204. doi: 10.1016/0378-1097(95)00259-8.


Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum is the causative agent of both the cutaneous and visceral forms of leishmaniasis in southwest Europe; the dog is the main reservoir. In order to identify the L. (L.) infantum zymodemes present in Spain, a total number of 85 Leishmania stocks isolated from dogs (31), HIV-positive patients (46) with visceral or cutaneous leishmaniasis, a patient with visceral leishmaniasis complicating renal transplantation (1) and immunocompetent patients (7) with visceral or cutaneous leishmaniasis, have been characterized by isoenzyme typing. All canine stocks were MON-1, which is the most widespread zymodeme in the Mediterranean area. In immunocompetent patients three zymodemes were found: MON-1 (2), MON-24 (2) and MON-34 (3). Nine different zymodemes were obtained in stocks from HIV co-infected patients, indicating a higher variability of L. (L.) infantum amongst them: MON-1 (in 21 stocks), MON-24 (7), MON-28 (1), MON-29 (3), MON-33 (7), MON-34 (1) and MON-183 (4). Two new zymodemes, MON-198 (1) and MON-199 (1), were described among HIV patients from Spain. The stock from the renal transplanted patient was MON-1. The exclusive presence of certain zymodemes in immunocompromised patients and their absence in typical cases of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis and in infected dogs suggests two possibilities: (i) an anthroponotic pattern of leishmaniasis where intravenous drug user-infected patients act as potential reservoir for these new zymodemes. In the latter, syringes could act as the vehicles for infected monocytes; (ii) the cellular immune system could select virulent from non-virulent zymodemes in immunocompetent visceral leishmaniasis patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / epidemiology
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / parasitology
  • Animals
  • Disease Reservoirs
  • Dogs / parasitology*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunocompetence
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Leishmania infantum / enzymology
  • Leishmania infantum / genetics*
  • Leishmania infantum / isolation & purification
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / epidemiology
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / parasitology
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / epidemiology
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / parasitology
  • Male
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Virulence / immunology


  • Isoenzymes