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Immunity against Leishmaniasis: host defences, immunotherapy and vaccines

Leishmaniasis is a serious public health problem in both tropical and temperate regions, caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. Over 20 Leishmania species as well as hybrids are involved and they are transmitted to humans by the bite of infected phlebotomine female sandflies. It is principally a zoonotic disease and some 70 animal species are reservoirs but, in some regions,humans themselves are the source of infection. 1.3 million new cases and 20 000 deaths occur annually.

There are 3 main clinical forms:
• Cutaneous: the most common form, 95% of the cases occur in the Americas, the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East and Central Asia - single or disseminated skin lesions
• Mucocutaneous: principally in the Americas, destruction of mucosal regions of the nose, mouth and throat
• Visceral: the fatal form of disease, the majority of cases occur in 6 countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Sudan and South Sudan.

There are two other important, but less common, forms:
• Diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis (DCL): an anergid form of disease - rare, America and Oriental Africa
• Post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL): endemic in East Africa and the Indian subcontinent. A sequela of visceral resolution, there is cutaneous manifestation.

There is a lack of sustainable control measures and different forms of the disease are expanding. Of particular concern is the increasing number of subclinical infections of Leishmania parasites that may flare up due to immunosuppression or be a source of infection in blood transfusions or organ transplants. A key goal is the reduction of fatal cases of visceral leishmaniasis in both India and Brazil but this is difficult in the absence of a vaccine for humans. Treatment in lower-income countries is based on toxic medicines developed in the 1940s. This is aggravated by the development of resistance to these older medications.

The aim of this collection, entitled “Leishmaniasis: Immunity, Therapies and Vaccines”, is to draw attention to areas of basic and applied research that focus on immunity/pathogenesis in the development of new therapies and vaccines.

Guest Editors: Prof. Jeffrey Shaw and Prof. Herbert Leonel de Matos Guedes

Image credit: Ludmilla Dellatorre

Published: 01 March 2016

  1. Infections with parasites of the Leishmania donovani complex result in clinical outcomes that range from asymptomatic infection to severe and fatal visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Neutrophils are major players of th...

    Authors: Luiz Gustavo Gardinassi, Thiago S. DeSouza-Vieira, Naila O. da Silva, Gustavo R. Garcia, Valéria M. Borges, Roseane N. S. Campos, Roque P. de Almeida, Isabel K. F. de Miranda Santos and Elvira M. Saraiva
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2017 10:285
  2. We have previously demonstrated that intranasal vaccination of highly susceptible BALB/c mice with whole Leishmania amazonensis antigens (LaAg) leads to protection against murine cutaneous leishmaniasis. Here, we...

    Authors: Juliana Elena Silveira Pratti, Tadeu Diniz Ramos, Joyce Carvalho Pereira, Alessandra Marcia da Fonseca-Martins, Diogo Maciel-Oliveira, Gabriel Oliveira-Silva, Mirian França de Mello, Suzana Passos Chaves, Daniel Claudio Oliveira Gomes, Bruno Lourenço Diaz, Bartira Rossi-Bergmann and Herbert Leonel de Matos Guedes
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:534
  3. Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease affecting millions of individuals worldwide. Despite several studies reporting involvement of the innate immune receptor Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) in the recogni...

    Authors: Alice Halliday, Paul A. Bates, Michael L. Chance and Mark J. Taylor
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:532
  4. The leishmaniases are a group of diseases caused by different species of the protozoan genus Leishmania and transmitted by sand fly vectors. They are a major public health problem in almost all continents. There ...

    Authors: Sergio C. F. Mendonça
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:492
  5. In past years, many researchers have sought canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) prevention through the characterization of Leishmania antigens as vaccine candidates. Despite these efforts, there is still no effic...

    Authors: Ludmila Zanandreis de Mendonça, Lucilene Aparecida Resende, Mariana Ferreira Lanna, Rodrigo Dian de Oliveira Aguiar-Soares, Bruno Mendes Roatt, Renata Alves de Oliveira e Castro, Maurício Azevedo Batista, Denise Silveira-Lemos, Juliana de Assis Silva Gomes, Ricardo Toshio Fujiwara, Simone Aparecida Rezende, Olindo Assis Martins-Filho, Rodrigo Corrêa-Oliveira, Walderez Ornelas Dutra, Alexandre Barbosa Reis and Rodolfo Cordeiro Giunchetti
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:472
  6. Much research effort has been focused on investigating new compounds derived from low-cost sources, such as natural products, for treating leishmaniasis. Oleuropein derived from numerous plants, particularly f...

    Authors: Ioannis D. Kyriazis, Olga S. Koutsoni, Nektarios Aligiannis, Kalliopi Karampetsou, Alexios-Leandros Skaltsounis and Eleni Dotsika
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:441
  7. Comments on the article “Regulation of immunity during visceral Leishmania infection” published in Parasites & Vectors 2016, 9:118, and further discussions about the role of antibodies in infections with Leishman...

    Authors: Luiz Gustavo Gardinassi and Isabel Kinney Ferreira de Miranda Santos
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:386
  8. Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a neglected disease with a broad spectrum of clinical manifestations, ranging from small cutaneous nodules to severe mucosal tissue destruction. Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis i...

    Authors: Raquel Peralva Ribeiro-Romão, Andrea Franco Saavedra, Alda Maria Da-Cruz, Eduardo Fonseca Pinto and Otacilio C. Moreira
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:361
  9. American tegumentary leishmaniasis (ATL) in Brazil is mostly caused by Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis, with known forms of the disease being cutaneous (CL), mucosal (ML) and disseminated (DL) leishmaniasis. Th...

    Authors: Luana Dias de Souza, Célia Maria Vieira Vendrame, Amélia Ribeiro de Jesus, Márcia Dias Teixeira Carvalho, Andréa Santos Magalhães, Albert Schriefer, Luiz Henrique Guimarães, Edgar Marcelino de Carvalho and Hiro Goto
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:335
  10. Leishmania spp., the causative agents of leishmaniasis, are intracellular parasites, transmitted to humans via the bite of their sand fly vectors. Once inoculated, the promastigotes are e...

    Authors: Juliana Perrone de Menezes, Elvira M. Saraiva and Bruno da Rocha-Azevedo
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:264
  11. Live attenuated Leishmania donovani parasites as LdCen−/− were shown to confer protective immunity against Leishmania infection in mice, hamsters, and dogs. Strong immunogenicity in dogs vaccinated with LdCen−/− ...

    Authors: Kelvinson Fernandes Viana, Jacqueline Araújo Fiuza, Sreenivas Gannavaram, Ranadhir Dey, Angamuthu Selvapandiyan, Daniella Castanheira Bartholomeu, Denise da Silveira-Lemos, Lilian Lacerda Bueno, Walderez Ornelas Dutra, Ricardo Toshio Fujiwara, Hira L. Nakhasi and Rodolfo Cordeiro Giunchetti
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:250
  12. Lutzomyia longipalpis is the main vector of visceral leishmaniasis in Latin America. Sandfly immune responses are poorly understood. In previous work we showed that these vector insect...

    Authors: Bruno Tinoco-Nunes, Erich Loza Telleria, Monique da Silva-Neves, Christiane Marques, Daisy Aline Azevedo-Brito, André Nóbrega Pitaluga and Yara Maria Traub-Csekö
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:222
  13. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) protect the host against a large number of pathogenic microorganisms. ROS have different effects on parasites of the genus Leishmania: some parasites are susceptible to their action,...

    Authors: Eric Henrique Roma, Juan Pereira Macedo, Grazielle Ribeiro Goes, Juliana Lauar Gonçalves, Waldionê de Castro, Daniel Cisalpino and Leda Quercia Vieira
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:193
  14. Imipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant widely used clinically, has other pharmacological effects, such as antileishmanial activity. Tricyclic antidepressants interact with lipid bilayers, and some studies have...

    Authors: Valter Viana Andrade-Neto, Thaís Martins Pereira, Marilene do Canto-Cavalheiro and Eduardo Caio Torres-Santos
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:183
  15. Leishmaniasis remains among the most important parasitic diseases in the developing world and visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is the most fatal. The hamster Mesocricetus auratus is a susceptible model for the charact...

    Authors: Nádia das Dores Moreira, Juliana Vitoriano-Souza, Bruno Mendes Roatt, Paula Melo de Abreu Vieira, Wendel Coura-Vital, Jamille Mirelle de Oliveira Cardoso, Mariana Trevisan Rezende, Henrique Gama Ker, Rodolfo Cordeiro Giunchetti, Claudia Martins Carneiro and Alexandre Barbosa Reis
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:181
  16. Unicellular eukaryotes of the genus Leishmania are collectively responsible for a heterogeneous group of diseases known as leishmaniasis. The visceral form of leishmaniasis, caused by L. donovani or L. infantum, ...

    Authors: Vasco Rodrigues, Anabela Cordeiro-da-Silva, Mireille Laforge, Ricardo Silvestre and Jérôme Estaquier
    Citation: Parasites & Vectors 2016 9:118