In vivo administration of Canavalia brasiliensis lectin (at the time of infection, or maintained throughout the infection) reduced the lesions of highly susceptible BALB/c mice infected by Leishmania amazonensis. At the doses used C. brasiliensis lectin (ConBr) does not interfere with penetration or fate of Leishmania in the macrophages in vitro. Since Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) is the major macrophage activating factor, and considered a critical element in the successful immune response against leishmaniasis, we explored its participation in this phenomenon. ConBr either in vivo or in vitro induced IFN-gamma production in normal or in leishmania-infected BALB/c mice. However we were unable to change the course of disease by in vivo IFN-gamma administration (although IFN-gamma preparations were effective in inducing a leishmanicidal effect in vitro on L. amazonensis-infected peritoneal macrophages). Additionally, IFN-gamma neutralization with anti-IFN-gamma monoclonal antibody did not alter the protection conferred by ConBr administration. These data show that lectin administration in vivo is protective in the otherwise unchecked L. amazonensis infection of BALB/c mice, and suggest that such effect is not mediated by IFN-gamma.