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Cross-protective efficacy of Leishmania infantum LiHyD protein against tegumentary leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major and Leishmania braziliensis species

Lage, Daniela Pagliara, Martins, Vívian Tamietti, Duarte, Mariana Costa, Costa, Lourena Emanuele, Tavares, Grasiele de Sousa Vieira, Ramos, Fernanda Fonseca, Chávez-Fumagalli, Miguel Angel, Menezes-Souza, Daniel, Roatt, Bruno Mendes, Tavares, Carlos Alberto Pereira, Coelho, Eduardo Antonio Ferraz
Acta tropica 2016 v.158 pp. 220-230
CD4-positive T-lymphocytes, Leishmania braziliensis, Leishmania infantum, Leishmania major, adjuvants, antibodies, antigens, cost effectiveness, cross immunity, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, immune response, immunoglobulin G, interferon-gamma, interleukin-10, interleukin-12, interleukin-4, leishmaniasis, liver, lymph nodes, mice, parasites, promastigotes, saponins, secretion, spleen, vaccination, vaccines
Vaccination can be considered the most cost-effective strategy to control neglected diseases, but nowadays there is not an effective vaccine available against leishmaniasis. In the present study, a vaccine based on the combination of the Leishmania-specific hypothetical protein (LiHyD) with saponin was tested in BALB/c mice against infection caused by Leishmania major and Leishmania braziliensis species. This antigen was firstly identified in Leishmania infantum and showed to be protective against infection of BALB/c mice using this parasite species. The immunogenicity of rLiHyD/saponin vaccine was evaluated, and the results showed that immunized mice produced high levels of IFN-γ, IL-12 and GM-CSF after in vitro stimulation with rLiHyD, as well as by using L. major or L. braziliensis protein extracts. After challenge, vaccinated animals showed significant reductions in the infected footpad swellings, as well as in the parasite burden in the infection site, liver, spleen, and infected paws draining lymph nodes, when compared to those that were inoculated with the vaccine diluent (saline) or immunized with saponin. The immunization of rLiHyD without adjuvant was not protective against both challenges. The partial protection obtained by the rLiHyD/saponin vaccine was associated with a parasite-specific IL-12-dependent IFN-γ secretion, which was produced mainly by CD4+ T cells. In these animals, a decrease in the parasite-mediated IL-4 and IL-10 responses, associated with the presence of high levels of LiHyD- and parasite-specific IgG2a isotype antibodies, were also observed. The present study showed that a hypothetical protein that was firstly identified in L. infantum, when combined to a Th1 adjuvant, was able to confer a cross-protection against highly infective stationary-phase promastigotes of two Leishmania species causing tegumentary leishmaniasis.