Author(s): Laabs EM, Wu W, Mendez S, Laabs EM, Wu W, Mendez S
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Abstract Cutaneous leishmaniasis due to Leishmania major is an emerging, chronic parasitic disease that causes disfigurement and social stigmatization. Drug therapy is inadequate, and there is no vaccine. Inoculation of virulent parasites (leishmanization) is the only intervention that has ever provided protection, because it mimics natural infection and immunity, but it was discontinued due to safety concerns (uncontrolled vaccinal lesions). In an effort to retain the benefits (immunity) while avoiding the side effects (lesions) of leishmanization, we immunized C57BL/6 mice with L. major and CpG DNA (Lm/CpG). This combination prevented lesions while inducing immunity. Also, the vaccination with live parasites and the Toll-like receptor 9 agonist enhanced innate immune responses by activating dermal dendritic cells (DCs) to produce cytokines. Here we report that the Lm/CpG vaccine induced dermal DCs, but not bone marrow-derived DCs, to produce interleukin-2 (IL-2). The release of this unusual DC-derived cytokine was concomitant with a peak in numbers of NK cells that produced gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and also enhanced activation of proliferation of IFN-gamma+ CD4+ T cells. Parasite growth was controlled in Lm/CpG-vaccinated animals. This is the first demonstration of the ability of dermal DCs to produce IL-2 and of the activation of NK cells by vaccination in the context of leishmaniasis. Understanding how the Lm/CpG vaccine enhances innate immunity may provide new tools to develop vaccines against L. major, other chronic infectious diseases, or other conditions, such as cancer.
This article was published in Clin Vaccine Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology