Resistance to murine leishmaniasis correlates with development of a CD4+ T helper 1 (Th1)-predominant immune response. To determine whether immunostimulatory CpG-containing oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG-ODN), known to promote a Th1 immune response, could provide protection from Leishmania infection, CpG-ODN and freeze-thawed (F/T) Leishmania major were coinjected intradermally into susceptible BALB/c mice. A Leishmania-specific Th1- predominant immune response was induced, and 40% of animals were protected from subsequent challenge with infectious organisms, with 0% protection of animals injected with F/T Leishmania organisms and PBS, F/T organisms and control ODN, or F/T organisms alone. More striking protection (65-95%) was seen in mice first infected with intact Leishmania organisms and then injected with CpG-ODN, either at the site of infection or at a remote site. To determine whether the therapeutic protection provided by CpG-ODN depended on IL-12 and IFN-γ production, both IFN-γ-deficient BALB/c mice and BALB/c mice treated with neutralizing anti-IL-12 mAb were first inoculated with Leishmania and then treated with either CpG-ODN, ODN, or PBS. None of these IFN-γ-deficient mice survived (0/20, 0/20, and 0/20 respectively). Furthermore, neutralization of IL-12 completely abolished the therapeutic protection provided by CpG-ODN (0/20 mice surviving). We conclude that immunostimulatory DNA sequences likely exert systemic effects via IL-12 and IFN-γ-dependent mechanisms and hold considerable promise as both vaccine adjuvants and potential therapeutic agents in the prevention and treatment of leishmaniasis.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 8 1999|