Sand fly saliva plays a crucial role in establishing Leishmania infection. We identified adenosine (ADO) and adenosine monophosphate (AMP) as active pharmacologic compounds present in Phlebotomus papatasi saliva that inhibit dendritic cell (DC) functions through a PGE2/IL 10-dependent mechanism. Herein, we prepared a mixture of ADO and AMP in equimolar amounts similar to those present in the salivary-gland extract (SGE) form one pair of salivary glands of P. papatasi and co-injected it with Leishmania amazonensis or L. major into mouse ears. ADO+AMP mimicked exacerbative effects of P. papatasi saliva in leishmaniasis, increasing parasite burden and cutaneous lesions. Enzymatic catabolism of salivary nucleosides reversed the SGE-induced immunosuppressive effect associated with IL-10 enhancement. Immunosuppressive factors COX2 and IL-10 were upregulated and failed to enhance ear lesion and parasite burden in IL 10-/- infected mice. Furthermore, nucleosides increased regulatory T cell (Treg) marker expression on CD4+CD25- cells, suggesting induction of Tregs on effector T cells (T eff). Treg induction (iTreg) was associated with nucleoside-induced tolerogenic dendritic cells (tDCs) expressing higher levels of COX2 and IL-10. In vitro generation of Tregs was more efficient in DCs treated with nucleosides. Suppressive effects of nucleosides during cutaneous leishmaniasis were mediated through an A2AR-dependent mechanism. Using BALB/c mice deficient in A2A ADO receptor (A2AR–/–), we showed that co-inoculated mice controlled infection, displaying lower parasite numbers at infection sites and reduced iTreg generation. We have demonstrated that ADO and AMP in P. papatasi saliva mediate exacerbative effects of Leishmania infection by acting preferentially on DCs promoting a tolerogenic profile in DCs and by generating iTregs in inflammatory foci through an A2AR mechanism.
Carregaro, V., Ribeiro, J. M., Valenzuela, J. G., Souza-Júnior, D. L., Costa, D. L., Oliveira, C. J. F., … Silva, J. S. (2015). Nucleosides Present on Phlebotomine Saliva Induce Immunossuppression and Promote the Infection Establishment. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 9(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003600