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Protective or Detrimental? Understanding the Role of Host Immunity in Leishmaniasis

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
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Microorganisms 2019, 7(12), 695; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7120695
Received: 29 October 2019 / Revised: 4 December 2019 / Accepted: 10 December 2019 / Published: 13 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Vector Borne Infections: A Novel Threat for Global Health)
The intracellular protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania are the causative agents of leishmaniasis, a vector-borne disease of major public health concern, estimated to affect 12 million people worldwide. The clinical manifestations of leishmaniasis are highly variable and can range from self-healing localized cutaneous lesions to life-threatening disseminated visceral disease. Once introduced into the skin by infected sandflies, Leishmania parasites interact with a variety of immune cells, such as neutrophils, monocytes, dendritic cells (DCs), and macrophages. The resolution of infection requires a finely tuned interplay between innate and adaptive immune cells, culminating with the activation of microbicidal functions and parasite clearance within host cells. However, several factors derived from the host, insect vector, and Leishmania spp., including the presence of a double-stranded RNA virus (LRV), can modulate the host immunity and influence the disease outcome. In this review, we discuss the immune mechanisms underlying the main forms of leishmaniasis, some of the factors involved with the establishment of infection and disease severity, and potential approaches for vaccine and drug development focused on host immunity. View Full-Text
Keywords: Leishmania; immunopathology; cutaneous leishmaniasis; visceral leishmaniasis; double-stranded RNA virus (LRV); sandfly; innate immunity; adaptive immunity Leishmania; immunopathology; cutaneous leishmaniasis; visceral leishmaniasis; double-stranded RNA virus (LRV); sandfly; innate immunity; adaptive immunity
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dos Santos Meira, C.; Gedamu, L. Protective or Detrimental? Understanding the Role of Host Immunity in Leishmaniasis. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 695.

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