Identification of immune biomarkers related to disease progression and treatment efficacy in human visceral leishmaniasis

Áquila S.B. Portela, Lourena E. Costa, Beatriz C.S. Salles, Mariana P. Lima, Thaís T.O. Santos, Fernanda F. Ramos, Daniela P. Lage, Vívian T. Martins, Rachel B. Caligiorne, Daniela R. Lessa, Fabiana R. Silva, Amanda S. Machado, Guilherme F. Nascimento, Isabela S. Gama, Miguel A. Chávez-Fumagalli, Antonio L. Teixeira, Manoel O.C. Rocha, Regina L. Rocha, Eduardo A.F. Coelho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a potentially fatal disease, in which the treatment based on chemotherapy is considered toxic. The cure of disease is associated with the life-long Th1-type immunity against the infection. The Th1-related cytokines production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) seems to be crucial for host control of parasite load and clinical cure. In the current study, we used five proteins (IgE-dependent histamine-releasing factor [HRF], LiHyD, LiHyV, LiHyT and LiHyp6) recently shown to be antigenic and/or immunogenic in the canine VL, aiming to evaluate the antigen-specific antibody levels and cytokine production in PBMCs culture supernatants collected from VL patients before and after anti-VL treatment. In the results, when PBMCs were exposed to rHRF, rLiHyD and rLiHyT, higher IFN-γ and lower IL-10 levels were observed in all patients that were treated and clinically cured. Analysis of specific antibody subclasses was in line with in vitro cellular response, since a higher IgG2 production was found in the treated and cured patients, when compared to the IgG1 subclass levels. In addition, evaluating the diagnostic efficacy of the recombinant molecules, the rHRF, rLiHyD and rLiHyT proteins showed the best results in the serology assays to identify all VL patients, as well as these antigens were not recognized by antibodies in sera from non-infected subjects or those with leishmaniasis-related diseases. Our results corroborate the view that clinical cure of VL is associated with a sustained Th1-related response, and indicate the potential use of rHRF, rLiHyD and rLiHyT as immune biomarkers of VL treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-309
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibodies
  • Cytokines
  • Immune response
  • Peripheral blood mononuclear cells
  • Recombinant proteins
  • Visceral leishmaniasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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