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Therapeutic vaccine of killed Leishmania amazonensis plus saponin reduced parasite burden in dogs naturally infected with Leishmania infantum

Viana, Kelvinson Fernandes, Lacerda, Giulia, Teixeira, Natália Soares, Rodrigues Cangussu, Alex Sander, Sousa Aguiar, Raimundo Wagner, Giunchetti, Rodolfo Cordeiro
Veterinary parasitology 2018 v.254 pp. 98-104
Leishmania amazonensis, Leishmania infantum, antigens, blood serum, dogs, hematology, humans, immunoglobulin G, immunotherapy, liver, new drugs, parasite load, parasites, parasitism, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, saponins, serology, sterilizing, vaccine development, vaccines, visceral leishmaniasis
A key goal in the control of canine visceral leishmaniosis (CVL) has been the development of vaccines with a highly protective capability to interrupt the parasite transmission cycle. However, in addition to promising vaccine searches, researchers have sought to develop new drugs capable of eliminating parasites in humans and dogs. With that in mind, this study analyzed an immunotherapeutic approach in dogs naturally infected with Leishmania infantum. Fourteen dogs were divided into two groups and received a protocol of immunotherapeutic treatment with five doses of total antigens of Leishmania amazonensis or total antigens of L. amazonensis plus saponin (LaSap). All the animals were evaluated before and 90 and 180 days after treatment, hematology, liver and renal biochemical analyzes, serology, lymphoproliferation, and parasite load by qPCR. The results of immunotherapy with the LaSap vaccine were promising since it was able to preserve hematological and biochemical parameters, as well as improve the clinical status, reduce serum levels of IgG, induce a lymphoproliferative capacity against soluble antigens of L. infantum, and provide a marked reduction in the parasite load after LaSap immunotherapeutic treatment. The immunotherapy data demonstrated that LaSap offered the best formulation to induce clinical cure associated with a parasite load reduction in the skin. However, after 180 days of treatment, the animals again showed a slight increase in parasitism, indicating that immunotherapy does not promote sterilizing cure and a new immunotherapeutic intervention would be necessary to maintain low parasitism in dogs.