T cell-derived IL-10 determines leishmaniasis disease outcome and is suppressed by a dendritic cell based vaccine.


In the murine model of Leishmania major infection, resistance or susceptibility to the parasite has been associated with the development of a Th1 or Th2 type of immune response. Recently, however, the immunosuppressive effects of IL-10 have been ascribed a crucial role in the development of the different clinical correlates of Leishmania infection in humans. Since T cells and professional APC are important cellular sources of IL-10, we compared leishmaniasis disease progression in T cell-specific, macrophage/neutrophil-specific and complete IL-10-deficient C57BL/6 as well as T cell-specific and complete IL-10-deficient BALB/c mice. As early as two weeks after infection of these mice with L. major, T cell-specific and complete IL-10-deficient animals showed significantly increased lesion development accompanied by a markedly elevated secretion of IFN-gamma or IFN-gamma and IL-4 in the lymph nodes draining the lesions of the C57BL/6 or BALB/c mutants, respectively. In contrast, macrophage/neutrophil-specific IL-10-deficient C57BL/6 mice did not show any altered phenotype. During the further course of disease, the T cell-specific as well as the complete IL-10-deficient BALB/c mice were able to control the infection. Furthermore, a dendritic cell-based vaccination against leishmaniasis efficiently suppresses the early secretion of IL-10, thus contributing to the control of parasite spread. Taken together, IL-10 secretion by T cells has an influence on immune activation early after infection and is sufficient to render BALB/c mice susceptible to an uncontrolled Leishmania major infection.

PLoS Pathog