Impaired T‐cell‐dependent protection against Leishmania major infection in HIV‐positive patients is associated with worsened disease outcome

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Biological Sciences

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Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) patients coinfected with HIV are known to show a more severe, prolonged course of disease; the immunological basis is not known. We now assessed clinical features, sera and skin biopsies of HIV+ and HIV patients with CL to identify drivers of increased susceptibility to Leishmania. CL lesion numbers, surface, and healing duration were significantly increased in HIV+ as compared to HIV patients (2.5, 14 and >4‐fold, respectively). Patients with HIV infection exhibited lower serum Leishmania‐specific IgG levels and decreased IL‐6 and IL‐8. Most importantly, dramatically decreased numbers of CD4+ T cells (approximately eightfold), but not CD8+ cells, together with fewer CXCR3+ Th1 cells, fewer Foxp3+ effector/regulatory T cells, and reduced levels of IFN‐γ expression were found in lesional skin. Our findings suggest that compromised CD4+ T‐cell responses may be responsible for worsened disease outcome leading to defects in parasite elimination in the absence of sufficient numbers of IFN‐γ‐producing Th1 cells.


This article was originally published in Experimental Dermatology. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Experimental Dermatology


© 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S.