Splenic cytokine responses in Indian kala-azar before and after treatment
Cytokine mRNA levels were measured in serial splenic aspirates from 27 patients with visceral leishmaniasis during monotherapy with interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma; n = 9), sodium antimony gluconate (SAG; n = 8), or amphotericin B lipid complex (ABLC; n = 10). At baseline, mRNA for IFN-gamma was detected in 18 (86%) of 21 patients, and mRNA for interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-4 was detected in 21 (100%) and 10 (48%) of 21 patients, respectively. With IFN-gamma treatment alone, levels of IFN-gamma mRNA decreased by day 10 and then returned to baseline levels; IL-10 mRNA levels were high throughout treatment. In the SAG and ABLC groups, levels of IFN-gamma and IL-10 mRNA decreased significantly. Polarized Th2 cell type responses do not appear to develop in Indian kala-azar; instead, there is an initial mixed Th1-Th2 cell picture. With successful treatment and resolution of infection, both components of the immune response appear to involute.