Coinfection With Trypanosoma brucei Confers Protection Against Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

Lais Pereira, Fabiano Oliveira, Shannon Townsend, Sonia Metangmo, Claudio Meneses, Ian N. Moore, Claudia I. Brodskyn, Jesus G. Valenzuela, Stefan Magez, Shaden Kamhawi

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Infection with certain bacteria, parasites, and viruses alters the host immune system to Leishmania major influencing disease outcome. Here, we determined the outcome of a chronic infection with Trypanosoma brucei brucei on cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) caused by L. major. C57BL/6 mice infected with T. b. brucei were given a sub-curative treatment with diminazene aceturate then coinfected with L. major by vector bites. Our results revealed that infection with T. b. brucei controls CL pathology. Compared to controls, coinfected mice showed a significant decrease in lesion size ( P < 0.05) up to 6 weeks post-infection and a significant decrease in parasite burden ( P < 0.0001) at 3 weeks post-infection. Protection against L. major resulted from a non-specific activation of T cells by trypanosomes. This induced a strong immune response characterized by IFN-γ production at the site of bites and systemically, creating a hostile inflammatory environment for L. major parasites and conferring protection from CL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2855
Pages (from-to)2855
Number of pages1
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2018


  • cellular immunity
  • coinfection
  • cutaneous leishmaniasis
  • humoral immunity
  • inflammation
  • Leishmania major
  • protection
  • Trypanosoma brucei

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