Experimental infection of dogs with Leishmania and saliva as a model to study Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis (CVL) is a zoonotic disease caused by Leishmania infantum, transmitted by the bite of Lutzomyia longipalpis sand flies. Dogs are the main domestic reservoir of the parasite. The establishment of an experimental model that partially reproduces natural infection in dogs is very important to test vaccine candidates, mainly regarding those that use salivary proteins from the vector and new therapeutical approaches. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this report, we describe an experimental infection in dogs, using intradermal injection of Leishmania infantum plus salivary gland homogenate (SGH) of Lutzomyia longipalpis. Thirty-five dogs were infected with 1×10(7) parasites combined with five pairs of Lutzomyia longipalpis salivary glands and followed for 450 days after infection and clinical, immunological and parasitological parameters were evaluated. Two hundred and ten days after infection we observed that 31,4% of dogs did not display detectable levels of anti-Leishmania antibodies but all presented different numbers of parasites in the lymph nodes. Animals with a positive xenodiagnosis had at least 3,35×10(5) parasites in their lymph nodes. An increase of IFN-? and IL-10 levels was detected during infection. Twenty two percent of dogs developed symptoms of CVL during infection. CONCLUSION: The infection model described here shows some degree of similarity when compared with naturally infected dogs opening new perspectives for the study of CVL using an experimental model that employs the combination of parasites and sand fly saliva both present during natural transmission.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The development of a protective vaccine against canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) is an alternative approach for interrupting the domestic cycle of Leishmania infantum. Given the importance of sand fly salivary proteins as potent immunogens obligatorily co-deposited during transmission of Leishmania parasites, their inclusion in an anti-Leishmania vaccine has been investigated in the last few decades. In this context, we previously immunized dogs with a vaccine composed of L. braziliensis antigens plus saponin as the adjuvant and sand fly salivary gland extract (LBSapSal vaccine). This vaccine elicited an increase in both anti-saliva and anti-Leishmania IgG isotypes, higher counts of specific circulating CD8? T cells, and high NO production. METHODS: We investigated the immunogenicity and protective effect of LBSapSal vaccination after intradermal challenge with 1 × 10? late-log-phase L. infantum promastigotes in the presence of sand fly saliva of Lutzomyia longipalpis. The dogs were followed for up to 885 days after challenge. RESULTS: The LBSapSal vaccine presents extensive antigenic diversity with persistent humoral and cellular immune responses, indicating resistance against CVL is triggered by high levels of total IgG and its subtypes (IgG1 and IgG2); expansion of circulating CD5?, CD4?, and CD8? T lymphocytes and is Leishmania-specific; and reduction of splenic parasite load. CONCLUSIONS: These results encourage further study of vaccine strategies addressing Leishmania antigens in combination with proteins present in the saliva of the vector.
Project description:Sand flies deliver Leishmania parasites to a host alongside salivary molecules that affect infection outcomes. Though some proteins are immunogenic and have potential as markers of vector exposure, their identity and vector specificity remain elusive.We screened human, dog, and fox sera from endemic areas of visceral leishmaniasis to identify potential markers of specific exposure to saliva of Lutzomyia longipalpis. Human and dog sera were further tested against additional sand fly species. Recombinant proteins of nine transcripts encoding secreted salivary molecules of Lu. longipalpis were produced, purified, and tested for antigenicity and specificity. Use of recombinant proteins corresponding to immunogenic molecules in Lu. longipalpis saliva identified LJM17 and LJM11 as potential markers of exposure. LJM17 was recognized by human, dog, and fox sera; LJM11 by humans and dogs. Notably, LJM17 and LJM11 were specifically recognized by humans exposed to Lu. longipalpis but not by individuals exposed to Lu. intermedia.Salivary recombinant proteins are of value as markers of vector exposure. In humans, LJM17 and LJM11 emerged as potential markers of specific exposure to Lu. longipalpis, the vector of Leishmania infantum chagasi in Latin America. In dogs, LJM17, LJM11, LJL13, LJL23, and LJL143 emerged as potential markers of sand fly exposure. Testing these recombinant proteins in large scale studies will validate their usefulness as specific markers of Lu. longipalpis exposure in humans and of sand fly exposure in dogs.
Project description:Dogs represent the most important domestic reservoir of L. chagasi (syn. L. infantum). A vaccine against canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) would be an important tool for decreasing the anxiety related to possible L. chagasi infection and for controlling human visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Because the sand fly salivary proteins are potent immunogens obligatorily co-deposited during transmission of Leishmania parasites, their inclusion in an anti-Leishmania vaccine has been investigated in past decades. We investigated the immunogenicity of the "LbSapSal" vaccine (L. braziliensis antigens, saponin as adjuvant, and Lutzomyia longipalpis salivary gland extract) in dogs at baseline (T0), during the post-vaccination protocol (T3rd) and after early (T90) and late (T885) times following L. chagasi-challenge. Our major data indicated that immunization with "LbSapSal" is able to induce biomarkers characterized by enhanced amounts of type I (tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-?, interleukin [IL]-12, interferon [IFN]-?) cytokines and reduction in type II cytokines (IL-4 and TGF-?), even after experimental challenge. The establishment of a prominent pro-inflammatory immune response after "LbSapSal" immunization supported the increased levels of nitric oxide production, favoring a reduction in spleen parasitism (78.9%) and indicating long-lasting protection against L. chagasi infection. In conclusion, these results confirmed the hypothesis that the "LbSapSal" vaccination is a potential tool to control the Leishmania chagasi infection.
Project description:Metacyclic <i>Leishmania</i> promastigotes are transmitted by sand flies that inject parasites and saliva into the host's skin. Previous studies have demonstrated that DNA plasmids encoding <i>Lutzomyia longipalpis</i> salivary proteins LJM17 and LJL143, when used to immunize dogs, resulted in a systemic and local Th1 cell-mediated immunity that interfered in parasite survival <i>in vitro</i>. Here we evaluated the ability of these same salivary antigens to induce anti-<i>Leishmania</i> immunity and to confer protection by immunizing dogs using a novel vaccination strategy more suitable for use in the field. The strategy consisted of a single dose of plasmid followed by two doses of recombinant <i>Canarypoxvirus</i> (<i>rCanarypoxvirus</i>) expressing <i>L. longipalpis</i> salivary proteins (LJM17 or LJL143). Thirty days after the final immunization, dogs were intradermally challenged with 10<sup>7</sup> <i>Leishmania infantum</i> promastigotes in the presence of <i>L. longipalpis</i> saliva. We followed the experimentally infected dogs for 10 months to characterize clinical, parasitological, and immunological parameters. Upon vaccination, all immunized dogs presented strong and specific humoral responses with increased serum concentrations of IFN-?, TNF, IL-7, and IL-15. The serum of dogs immunized with LJM17 also exhibited high levels of IL-2, IL-6, and IL-18. <i>L. infantum</i> infection was established in all experimental groups as evidenced by the presence of anti-<i>Leishmania</i> IgG, and by parasite detection in the spleen and skin. Dogs immunized with LJM17-based vaccines presented higher circulating levels of IFN-?, IL-2, IL-6, IL-7, IL-15, IL-18, TNF, CXCL10, and GM-CSF post-infection when compared with controls. Results demonstrated that relevant <i>Leishmania</i>-specific immune responses were induced following vaccination of dogs with <i>L. longipalpis</i> salivary antigen LJM17 administered in a single priming dose of plasmid DNA, followed by two booster doses of recombinant Canarypox vector. Importantly, a significant increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines known to be relevant for protection against leishmaniasis was evidenced after challenging LJM17-vaccinated dogs as compared to controls. Although similar results were observed following immunization with LJL143, the pro-inflammatory response observed after immunization was attenuated following infection. Collectively, these data suggest that the LJM17-based vaccine induced an immune profile consistent with the expected protective immunity against canine leishmaniosis. These results clearly support the need for further evaluation of the LJM17 antigen, using a heterologous prime-boost vaccination strategy against canine visceral leishmaniosis (CVL).
Project description:Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis (CVL) is caused by Leishmania infantum, which in the New World is transmitted by Lutzomyia longipalpis. While prospective clinical and immunological assessments of dogs experimentally challenged with L. infantum have been previously reported over a relatively short follow-up period, the long-term characterization of infected animals has not been performed to date. We evaluated dogs in a subclinical state for six years following experimental infection with L. infantum and Lu. longipalpis saliva, via an intradermal route, to characterize clinical, parasitological and immunological parameters arising from L. infantum experimental infection. We also assess these parameters in a group of naturally infected animals. The immune profiles of the experimentally and naturally infected animals exhibited increases of IFN-?, IL-6 and IL-18, and decreases in TNF, IL-2, IL-8 and CXCL1, compared to controls. Our results indicate that over a six-year follow-up post-challenge, subclinically infected dogs presented low CVL clinical scores despite the persistence of Leishmania parasites in the lymph nodes, spleen and skin. Similarities observed among immune profiles in the context of experimental and natural infection seem to suggest that an enduring activation of the host immune response may lead to the control of parasite growth, thereby limiting disease severity.
Project description:Immunity to a sand fly salivary protein protects against visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in hamsters. This protection was associated with the development of cellular immunity in the form of a delayed-type hypersensitivity response and the presence of IFN-gamma at the site of sand fly bites. To date, there are no data available regarding the cellular immune response to sand fly saliva in dogs, the main reservoirs of VL in Latin America, and its role in protection from this fatal disease. Two of 35 salivary proteins from the vector sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis, identified using a novel approach termed reverse antigen screening, elicited strong cellular immunity in dogs. Immunization with either molecule induced high IgG(2) antibody levels and significant IFN-gamma production following in vitro stimulation of PBMC with salivary gland homogenate (SGH). Upon challenge with uninfected or infected flies, immunized dogs developed a cellular response at the bite site characterized by lymphocytic infiltration and IFN-gamma and IL-12 expression. Additionally, SGH-stimulated lymphocytes from immunized dogs efficiently killed Leishmania infantum chagasi within autologous macrophages. Certain sand fly salivary proteins are potent immunogens obligatorily co-deposited with Leishmania parasites during transmission. Their inclusion in an anti-Leishmania vaccine would exploit anti-saliva immunity following an infective sand fly bite and set the stage for a protective anti-Leishmania immune response.
Project description:Canine leishmaniasis (CanL) is a chronic fatal disease of dogs and a major source of human infection through propagation of parasites in vectors. Here, we infected 8 beagles through multiple experimental vector transmissions with Leishmania infantum-infected Lutzomyia longipalpis. CanL clinical signs varied, although live parasites were recovered from all dog spleens. Splenic parasite burdens correlated positively with Leishmania-specific interleukin 10 levels, negatively with Leishmania-specific interferon ? and interleukin 2 levels, and negatively with Leishmania skin test reactivity. A key finding was parasite persistence for 6 months in lesions observed at the bite sites in all dogs. These recrudesced following a second transmission performed at a distal site. Notably, sand flies efficiently acquired parasites after feeding on lesions at the primary bite site. In this study, controlled vector transmissions identify a potentially unappreciated role for skin at infectious bite sites in dogs with CanL, providing a new perspective regarding the mechanism of Leishmania transmissibility to vector sand flies.
Project description:The sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis is the main vector of American visceral leishmaniasis, a disease caused by parasites of the genus Leishmania. Adults of this insect feed on blood (females only) or sugar from plant sources, but their digestion of carbohydrates is poorly studied. Beta-glycosides as esculin and amygdalin are plant compounds and release toxic compounds as esculetin and mandelonitrile when hydrolyzed. Beta-glucosidase and trehalase are essential enzymes in sand fly metabolism and participate in sugar digestion. It is therefore possible that the toxic portions of these glycosides, released during digestion, affect sand fly physiology and the development of Leishmania. We tested the oral administration to sand flies of amygdalin, esculin, mandelonitrile, and esculetin in the sugar meal. These compounds significantly decreased the longevity of Lutzomyia longipalpis females and males. Lutzomyia longipalpis adults have significant hydrolytic activities against esculin and feeding on this compound cause changes in trehalase and ?-glucosidase activities. Female trehalase activity is inhibited in vitro by esculin. Esculin is naturally fluorescent, so its ingestion may be detected and quantified in whole insects or tissue samples stored in methanol. Mandelonitrile neither affected the amount of sugar ingested by sand flies nor showed repellent activity. Our results show that mandelonitrile significantly reduces the viability of L. amazonensis, L. braziliensis, L. infantum and L. mexicana, in a concentration-dependent manner. Esculetin caused a similar effect, reducing the number of L. infantum and L. mexicana. Female L. longipalpis fed on mandelonitrile had a reduction in the number of parasites and prevalence of infection after seven days of infection with L. mexicana, either by counting in a Neubauer chamber or by qPCR assays. Glycosides have significant effects on L. longipalpis longevity and metabolism and also affect the development of parasites in culture and inside the insect. These observations might help to conceptualize new vector control strategies using transmission blocking sugar baits.
Project description:Leishmaniasis encompasses a group of diverse clinical diseases caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus. This disease is a major public health problem in the New World affecting people exposed in endemic regions. The city of Governador Valadares (Minas Gerais/Brazil) is a re-emerging area for visceral leishmaniasis, with 191 human cases reported from 2008 to 2017 and a lethality rate of 14.7%. The transmission of the parasite occurs intensely in this region with up to 22% of domestic dogs with positive serology for the visceral form. Lu. longipalpis is one of the most abundant sand fly species in this area. Despite this scenario, so far there is no information regarding the circulating Leishmania species in the insect vector Lutzomyia longipalpis in this focus. We collected 616 female Lutzomyia longipalpis sand flies between January and September 2015 in the Vila Parque Ibituruna neighborhood (Governador Valadares/MG), which is located on a transitional area between the sylvatic and urban environments with residences built near a preserved area. After DNA extraction of individual sand flies, the natural Leishmania infections in Lu. longipalpis were detected by conventional PCR, using primers derived from kDNA sequences, specific for L. (Leishmania) or L. (Viannia) subgenus. The sensitivity of these PCR reactions was 0.1 pg of DNA for each Leishmania subgenus and the total infection rate of 16.2% (100 positive specimens). Species-specific PCR detected the presence of multiple Leishmania species in infected Lu. longipalpis specimens in Governador Valadares, including L. amazonensis (n = 3), L. infantum (n = 28), L. (Viannia) spp. (n = 20), coinfections with L. infantum and L. (Viannia) spp. (n = 5), and L. (Leishmania) spp (n = 44). Our results demonstrate that multiple Leishmania species circulate in Lu. longipalpis in Governador Valadares and reveal a potential increasing risk of transmission of the different circulating parasite species. This information reinforces the need for epidemiological and entomological surveillance in this endemic focus, and the development of effective control strategies against leishmaniasis.
Project description:Leishmania infantum chagasi causes visceral leishmaniasis (VL); it is transmitted by the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis that injects saliva and parasites into the host's skin during a blood meal. Chickens represent an important blood source for sand flies and their presence in the endemic area is often cited as a risk factor for VL transmission. However, the role of chickens in VL epidemiology has not been well defined. Here, we tested if chicken antibodies against Lu. longipalpis salivary gland sonicate (SGS) could be used as markers of exposure to sand fly bites. All naturally exposed chickens in a VL endemic area in Brazil developed anti-SGS IgY antibodies. Interestingly, Lu. longipalpis recombinant salivary proteins rLJM17 and rLJM11 were also able to detect anti-SGS IgY antibodies. Taken together, these results show that chickens can be used to monitor the presence of Lu. longipalpis in the peri-domiciliary area in VL endemic regions, when used as sentinel animals.