In vivo cytokine profiles in patients with kala-azar. Marked elevation of both interleukin-10 and interferon-gamma

J Clin Invest. 1993 Apr;91(4):1644-8. doi: 10.1172/JCI116372.


The immunological mechanisms underlying the susceptibility to disseminated visceral parasitism of mononuclear phagocytes in patients with kala-azar remain undefined. Resistance and susceptibility are correlated with distinct patterns of cytokine production in murine models of disseminated leishmanial disease. To assess lesional cytokine profiles in patients with kala-azar, bone marrow aspirates were analyzed using a quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR technique to amplify specific mRNA sequences of multiple Th1-, Th2-, and/or macrophage-associated cytokines. Transcript levels of IL-10 as well as IFN-gamma were significantly elevated in patients with active visceral leishmaniasis; IL-10 levels decreased markedly with resolution of disease. These findings suggest that IL-10, a potent, pleiotropic suppressor of all known microbicidal effector functions of macrophages, may contribute to the pathogenesis of kala-azar by inhibiting the cytokine-mediated activation of host macrophages that is necessary for the control of leishmanial infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Base Sequence
  • Bone Marrow / chemistry*
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Child
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis*
  • Interleukin-10 / analysis*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / metabolism*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / physiology


  • Cytokines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interferon-gamma