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A new Leishmania-specific hypothetical protein, LiHyT, used as a vaccine antigen against visceral leishmaniasis

Martins, Vívian Tamietti, Lage, Daniela Pagliara, Duarte, Mariana Costa, Costa, Lourena Emanuele, Garde, Esther, Rodrigues, Marcella Rezende, Chávez-Fumagalli, Miguel Angel, Menezes-Souza, Daniel, Roatt, Bruno Mendes, Tavares, Carlos Alberto Pereira, Soto, Manuel, Coelho, Eduardo Antonio Ferraz
Acta tropica 2016 v.154 pp. 73-81
CD4-positive T-lymphocytes, CD8-positive T-lymphocytes, Leishmania infantum, adjuvants, antibodies, antigens, bone marrow, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, immunogenicity, immunoglobulin G, interferon-gamma, interleukin-10, interleukin-12, interleukin-4, liver, lymph nodes, mice, parasites, promastigotes, recombinant proteins, saponins, spleen, splenocytes, vaccines, visceral leishmaniasis
The present study aimed to evaluate a new Leishmania-specific hypothetical protein, LiHyT, as a vaccine candidate against VL. The immunogenicity of the recombinant protein (rLiHyT) plus saponin was evaluated in BALB/c mice. In the results, it is shown that rLiHyT plus saponin vaccinated mice produced high levels of IFN-γ, IL-12, and GM-CSF after in vitro stimulation of spleen cells using both rLiHyT and Leishmania infantum SLA. The protective efficacy was evaluated after subcutaneous challenge with stationary promastigotes of L. infantum. Immunized and infected mice, when compared to the controls, showed significant reductions in the number of parasites in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and in the paws’ draining lymph nodes. Protection was associated with an IL-12-dependent production of IFN-γ, mainly by CD4⁺ T cells, with a minor contribution of CD8⁺ T cells. In these mice, a decrease in the parasite-mediated IL-4 and IL-10 responses, as well as a predominance of LiHyT- and parasite-specific IgG2a isotype antibodies, were also observed. The present study showed that a new Leishmania-specific protein, when combined with a Th1-type adjuvant, presents potential to be used as a vaccine against VL.