Short-term protection conferred by Leishvacin® against experimental Leishmania amazonensis infection in C57BL/6 mice

Matheus Batista Heitor Carneiro, Louisa Maria de Andrade e Sousa, Leonardo Gomes Vaz, Liliane Martins Dos Santos, Luciano Vilela, Carolina Carvalho de Souza, Ricardo Gonçalves, Wagner Luis Tafuri, Luís Carlos Crocco Afonso, Denise Fonseca Côrtes, Leda Quercia Vieira
Parasitology International 2014, 63 (6): 826-34
To date, there is no vaccine available against human leishmaniasis. Although some vaccination protocols can induce immunity in murine models, they fail to induce protection in humans. The reasons for that remain unclear. The aim of the present study was to characterize the changes in the pattern of the immune response during subcutaneous vaccination with Leishvacin® in mice. We also investigated whether IFN-γ and nitric oxide synthase are indispensable for the protection elicited by the vaccine. C57BL/6 WT vaccinated mice showed smaller lesions and fewer numbers of parasites in footpads until 8 weeks post-infection. Up to this time, they produced higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, IL-17A and IL-10 and higher specific antibody response than control non-vaccinated mice. Moreover, we showed that IFN-γ, most likely by induction of iNOS expression, is essential for immunity. However, after 12 weeks of infection, we observed loss of difference in lesion size and parasite burden between the groups. Loss of resistance was associated with the disappearance of differences in cytokine patterns between vaccinated and control mice, but not of antibody response, which remained different until a later time of infection. The reversal of resistance to L. amazonensis could not be explained by upregulation of regulatory cytokines. Our data point to a subversion of the host immune response by L. amazonensis even when a protective response was previously induced.

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