In the present study, C57BL/6 mice were inoculated with metacyclic Leishmania amazonensis or L. braziliensis promastigotes. While these animals were capable of controlling the infection by L. braziliensis, they developed chronic lesions with elevated numbers of parasites when infected by L. amazonensis. The differences in parasite control were associated with a decreased production of IFN-γ and TNF by lymph node cells from L. amazonensis-infected mice. Furthermore, these animals presented decreased spleen cell proliferation and activation of germinal centers. In addition, we compared the ability of these parasites to hydrolyze extracellular ATP and AMP. While the ATPase activity of both parasite species was similar, L. amazonensis promastigotes presented higher AMP hydrolytic activity. This increased activity may lead to an increased production of adenosine, which has been shown to present anti-inflammatory activity and may thus be involved in the establishment of the immunosuppression observed in mice infected by L. amazonensis.