In this study we have compared the immune response of normal human cells cultured in vitro to two virulent strains of Leishmania major (CC1 and LV39), and to an avirulent vaccine strain (dhfr-ts-) made by targeted deletion of the essential gene DHFR-TS. We utilized an in vitro system in which naive T cells from normal human donors were primed with autologous Leishmania- infected macrophages. All three parasites infected macrophages and transformed into amastigotes within the cells. However, whereas LV39 and CC1 replicated in macrophages, dhfr-ts- did not. When peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) were stimulated with autologous macrophages infected with any of the three parasites, the lymphocytes produced a type-1-biased cytokine response. Finally, addition of IL-12 during the first stimulation period increased the production of interferon-gamma but decreased IL-5 secretion. On the other hand, anti-IL-12 resulted in the opposite effect.
- Leishmania major