Cytokine mRNA expression inPeromyscus yucatanicus(Rodentia: Cricetidae) infected byLeishmania (Leishmania) mexicana

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Peromyscus yucatanicus, the main reservoir of Leishmania (Leishmania) mexicana in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, reproduces clinical and histological pictures of LCL in human as well as subclinical infection. Thus, we used this rodent as a novel experimental model. In this work, we analyzed cytokine mRNA expression in P. yucatanicus infected with L. (L.) mexicana. Animals were inoculated with either 2.5 × 106 or 1 × 102 promastigotes and cytokine expressions were analyzed by real-time RT-PCR in skin at 4 and 12 weeks post-infection (wpi). Independently of the parasite inoculum none of the infected rodents had clinical signs of LCL at 4 wpi and all expressed high IFN-γ mRNA. All P. yucatanicus inoculated with 2.5 × 106 promastigotes developed signs of LCL at 12 wpi while the mice inoculated with 1 × 102 remained subclinical. At that time, both IFN-γ and IL-10 were expressed in P. yucatanicus with clinical and subclinical infections. Expressions of TNF-α and IL-4 were significantly higher in clinical animals (2.5 × 106) compared with subclinical ones (1 × 102). High TGF-β expression was observed in P. yucatanicus with clinical signs when compared with healthy animals. Results suggested that the clinical course of L. (L.) mexicana infection in P. yucatanicus was associated with a specific local pattern of cytokine production at 12 wpi.

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