Successful Therapy of Visceral Leishmaniasis With Curdlan Involves T-Helper 17 Cytokines

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate and characterize the therapeutic potential of curdlan, a naturally occurring β-glucan immunomodulator, against visceral leishmaniasis, a fatal parasitic disease. Curdlan eliminated the liver and spleen parasite burden in a 45-day BALB/c mouse model of visceral leishmaniasis at a dosage of 10 mg/kg/day as determined by Giemsa-stained organ impression smears. Curdlan was associated with production of the disease-resolving T-helper (Th) 1 and Th17-inducing cytokines interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, and IL-23, as well as with production of Th17 cytokines IL-17 and IL-22, as determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Reversal of curdlan-mediated protection by anti-IL-17 and anti-IL-23 monoclonal antibodies showed the importance of Th17 cytokines. Significantly decreased production of both IL-17 and IL-22 by mice that received anti-IL-23 antibody suggested the essential role of IL-23 in Th17 differentiation. Although administration of recombinant IL-17 or IL-23 caused significant suppression of the organ parasite burden, with marked generation of interferon γ and nitric oxide (NO), effects were much faster for IL-17. These results documented that although both IL-23 and IL-17 play major roles in the antileishmanial effect of curdlan, the effect of IL-23 may occur indirectly, through the induction of IL-17 production.

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