Impact of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on the control of parasite loads and inflammation in Leishmania amazonensis infection
Lesion development in tegumentary leishmaniasis is markedly influenced by the inoculation site and the type and number of injected infective forms. This and the yet unclear contribution of Th2 cytokines as susceptibility factors to Leishmania amazonensis infection prompted us to investigate the roles of IL-4, IL-13 and IL-10 on C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice infected in the footpad (paw) or rump with low-dose L. amazonensis purified-metacyclics. Wild-type (WT) mice of either strain developed, in the rump, a single large ulcerated lesion whereas paw lesions never ulcerated and were much smaller in C57BL/6 than in BALB/c mice. However, rump-inoculated IL-4-deficient (IL-4(-/-)) C57BL/6 mice did not develop any visible lesions although parasites remained in the dermis and lymph nodes, even after systemic IL-10-receptor blocking. By comparison, all IL-4(-/-) BALB/c mice developed rump ulcers. Strikingly, only 30% of rump-infected IL-4Rα(-/-) BALB/c mice developed lesions. IL-4(-/-) mice had higher IFN-γ and lower IL-10 and IL-13 levels than WT mice. Paw-infected IL-4Rα(-/-) BALB/c mice developed minimal paw lesions. While other factors contributing to L. amazonensis susceptibility cannot be discounted, our results indicate that absent signalling by IL-4 or by IL-4/IL-13 have more intense attenuating effects on rump than on paw lesions but do not eradicate parasitism.