Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Infectious Diseases and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

CD4 T cell activation by B cells in human Leishmania (Viannia) infection

Daniel Rodriguez-Pinto13*, Nancy Gore Saravia1 and Diane McMahon-Pratt2

Author Affiliations

1 Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas (CIDEIM), Cali, Colombia

2 Yale University School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA

3 Current Address: Facultad de Medicina, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de las Américas, Quito, Ecuador

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:108  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-108

Published: 25 February 2014

Abstract

Background

An effective adaptive immune response requires activation of specific CD4 T cells. The capacity of B cells to activate CD4 T cells in human cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania (Viannia) has not been evaluated.

Methods

CD4 T cell activation by B cells of cutaneous leishmaniasis patients was evaluated by culture of PBMCs or purified B cells and CD4 T cells with Leishmania panamensis antigens. CD4 T cell and B cell activation markers were evaluated by flow cytometry and 13 cytokines were measured in supernatants with a bead-based capture assay. The effect of Leishmania antigens on BCR-mediated endocytosis of ovalbumin was evaluated in the Ramos human B cell line by targeting the antigen with anti-IgM-biotin and anti-biotin-ovalbumin-FITC.

Results

Culture of PBMCs from cutaneous leishmaniasis patients with Leishmania antigens resulted in upregulation of the activation markers CD25 and CD69 as well as increased frequency of CD25hiCD127- cells among CD4 T cells. Concomitantly, B cells upregulated the costimulatory molecule CD86. These changes were not observed in PBMCs from healthy subjects, indicating participation of Leishmania-specific lymphocytes expanded in vivo. Purified B cells from these patients, when interacting with purified CD4 T cells and Leishmania antigens, were capable of inducing significant increases in CD25 and CD69 expression and CD25hiCD127- frequency in CD4 T cells. These changes were associated with upregulation of CD86 in B cells. Comparison of changes in CD4 T cell activation parameters between PBMC and B cell/CD4 T cell cultures showed no statistically significant differences; further, significant secretion of IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-13 was induced in both types of cultures. Additionally, culture with Leishmania antigens enhanced BCR-mediated endocytosis of ovalbumin in Ramos human B cells.

Conclusions

The capacity of B cells specific for Leishmania antigens in peripheral blood of cutaneous leishmaniasis patients to activate CD4 T cells and induce cytokine secretion is similar to that of all cell populations present in PBMCs. This capacity implicates B cells as a plausible target for modulation of the immune response to Leishmania infection as a therapeutic strategy.

Keywords:
B cells; Cutaneous leishmaniasis; Leishmania (Viannia)