Tissue granuloma structure-function in experimental visceral leishmaniasis
In experimental visceral leishmaniasis in normal mice (BALB/c, C57BL/6) acquired resistance to Leishmania donovani, a protozoan which targets tissue macrophages, depends upon T cells, Th1 cell-type cytokine generation and activated mononuclear phagocytes. In the intact host, initial control and eventual resolution of L. donovani hepatic infection in normal mice is expressed by and accomplished within well-formed, mature tissue granulomas. In the liver, these immunologically active, inflammatory structures are assembled around a core of fused, parasitized resident macrophages (Kupffer cells) which come to be encircled by both cytokine-secreting T cells and influxing leishmanicidal blood monocytes. This pro-host defense granuloma structure-function relationship, in which histologically mature granulomas provide the microenvironment for intracellular L. donovani killing, however, is only one of seven which have been identified through experimental modifications in this model. This report reviews these structure-function relationships and illustrates the broad spectrum of additional possible responses. These responses range from structurally intact granulomas which provide no antileishmanial function (the 'ineffective' granuloma), to enlarged granulomas which show enhanced parasite killing (the 'hypertrophied' granuloma), to effective antileishmanial activity in the absence of any tissue reaction (the 'invisible' granuloma).