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Nature Research, Scientific Reports, 1(9), 2019

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-49344-1



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Pro-Cellular Exhaustion Markers are Associated with Splenic Microarchitecture Disorganization and Parasite Load in Dogs with Visceral Leishmaniasis

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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AbstractIn canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL), splenic white pulp (SWP) disorganization has been associated with disease progression, reduced cytokine and chemokine expression and failure to control the parasite load. This profile is compatible with the cellular exhaustion previously shown in human visceral leishmaniasis. The present study aimed to evaluate the in situ expression of cellular exhaustion markers and their relation to clinical signs, SWP disorganization and parasite load. Forty dogs naturally infected by Leishmania infantum were grouped according to levels of SWP organization and parasite load. SWP disorganization was associated with reductions in the periarteriolar lymphatic sheath and lymphoid follicles/mm2 and worsening of the disease. Apoptotic cells expressing CTLA-4+ increased in dogs with disorganized SWP and a high parasite load. In the same group, PD-L1 and LAG-3 gene expression were reduced. A higher number of CD21+TIM-3+ B cells was detected in disorganized spleens than in organized spleens. Apoptosis is involved in periarteriolar lymphatic sheath reduction and lymphoid follicle atrophy and is associated with CTLA-4+ cell reductions in the splenic tissue of dogs with visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Failure to control the parasite load was observed, suggesting that cell exhaustion followed by T and B cell apoptosis plays a role in the immunosuppression observed in CVL.