The Role of IL-10 in Promoting Disease Progression in Leishmaniasis

  • Kane M
  • Mosser D
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To determine the role of IL-10 in cutaneous leishmaniasis, we examined lesion development following Leishmania major infection of genetically susceptible BALB/c mice lacking IL-10. Whereas normal BALB/c mice developed progressive nonhealing lesions with numerous parasites within them, IL-10?/? BALB/c mice controlled disease progression, and had relatively small lesions with 1000-fold fewer parasites within them by the fifth week of infection. We also examined a mechanism whereby Leishmania induced the production of IL-10 from macrophages. We show that surface IgG on Leishmania amastigotes allows them to ligate Fc ? receptors on inflammatory macrophages to preferentially induce the production of high amounts of IL-10. The IL-10 produced by infected macrophages prevented macrophage activation and diminished their production of IL-12 and TNF- ? . In vitro survival assays confirmed the importance of IL-10 in preventing parasite killing by activated macrophages. Pretreatment of monolayers with either rIL-10 or supernatants from amastigote-infected macrophages resulted in a dramatic enhancement in parasite intra- cellular survival. These studies indicate that amastigotes of Leishmania use an unusual and unexpected virulence factor, host IgG. This IgG allows amastigotes to exploit the antiinflammatory effects of Fc ? R ligation to induce the production of IL-10, which renders macrophages refractory to the activating effects of IFN- .

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  • M. M. Kane

  • D. M. Mosser

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