Dendritic Cell Populations in Leishmania major-Infected Skin and Draining Lymph Nodes

Tracey M Baldwin, Sandrine Henri, Joan M Curtis, Meredith O'Keeffe, David Vremec, Ken Shortman, Emanuela Handman

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Using a metacyclic promastigote ear infection model of cutaneous leishmaniasis, we examined the phenotype, parasite load, and cytokine production of dendritic cells in the skin and draining lymph nodes of resistant C57BL/6J and susceptible BALB/c mice. Five dendritic cell populations were isolated from the skin and lymph nodes, and the main difference between the groups of mice was an increased number of plasmacytoid dendritic cells in the lymph nodes of the susceptible mice. Although similar cell types were present in the skin emigrants of both strains, there was a 10-fold larger number of cells in BALB/c mouse skin early in infection than in C57BL/6J mouse skin. None of the dendritic cells in the lymph nodes harbored parasites until 3 weeks after infection, with the Langerhans cells having the largest load and the plasmacytoid dendritic cells having the smallest load but the longest lasting infection. Although parasites could be detected in the lymph nodes a few hours after infection, none of the skin emigrants harbored parasites, indicating that they are not the vehicle that ferries the parasites from the skin to the lymph nodes. The presence of larger numbers of plasmacytoid cells in infected BALB/c mice, the more protracted infection of these cells, and their production of alpha interferon point to a complex and important role for the plasmacytoid cells in leishmaniasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1991-2001
Number of pages11
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes

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