Adenosine generated by ectonucleotidases modulates the host immune system during visceral leishmaniasis

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Adenosine, an endogenous purine nucleoside is one such extracellular signaling molecule whose role in the regulation of anti-inflammatory cytokines and immune pathogenicity in visceral leishmaniasis is indeterminate. Here, we have evaluated the adenosine in the plasma of 20 visceral leishmaniasis (VL) patients during active disease and after successful treatment. We observed the elevated plasma adenosine during active VL disease (26.73 ± 1.95 μM) and the level subsides as the treatment progresses and falls to the normal level after successful treatment (4.32 ± 0.45 μM). We demonstrated a direct correlation between changes in the plasma adenosine level and the Th1/Th2 balance in VL patients and it was corroborated with in vitro experiment. Further, we delineated the molecular mechanism involved in the elevation of plasma adenosine during visceral leishmaniasis. Our results reveal that the elevated plasma adenosine level associated with pathogenicity and plays a critical role in skewing immune response from Th1 to Th2 type to influence the outcome of the disease.

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