Acute visceral leishmaniasis is a progressive disease caused by Leishmania chagasi in South America. The acquisition of immunity following infection suggests that vaccination is a feasible approach to protect against this disease. Since Leishmania homologue of receptors for activated C kinase (LACK) antigen is of particular interest as a vaccine candidate because of the prominent role it plays in the pathogenesis of experimental Leishmania major infection, we evaluated the potential of a p36(LACK) DNA vaccine in protecting BALB/c mice challenged with L. chagasi. In this study, mice received intramuscular (i.m.) or subcutaneous (s.c.) doses of LACK DNA vaccine. We evaluated the production of vaccine-induced cytokines and whether this immunization was able to reduce parasite load in liver and spleen. We detected a significant production of interferon gamma by splenocytes from i.m. vaccinated mice in response to L. chagasi antigen and to rLACK protein. However, we did not observe a reduction in parasite load neither in liver nor in the spleen of vaccinated animals. The lack of protection observed may be explained by a significant production of IL-10 induced by the vaccine.
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We thank Dr. Elio Hideo Babá for his helpful assistance and Dr. George Luís Lins Machado Coelho for helping with the statistical analysis. This study was performed in accordance with Brazilian law and was financially supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG) and Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto.
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Marques-da-Silva, E.A., Coelho, E.A.F., Gomes, D.C.O. et al. Intramuscular immunization with p36(LACK) DNA vaccine induces IFN-γ production but does not protect BALB/c mice against Leishmania chagasi intravenous challenge. Parasitol Res 98, 67–74 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-005-0008-8
- Leishmania chagasi