T cell responses are correlated with recovery from and resistance to leishmaniasis. Antigens of Leishmania chagasi were evaluated by determining their ability to elicit in vitro proliferation and cytokine production in peripheral blood lymphocytes and in T cell lines and clones from patients with histories of leishmaniasis or Chagas' disease. Antigens tested were selected by their reactivity with patient antibodies. Several of the antigens induced proliferative responses in peripheral blood lymphocytes from patients recovered from visceral or cutaneous leishmaniasis or with chronic Chagas' disease. Two purified glycoproteins, 30 and 42 kD, were consistently among the most effective in eliciting high proliferative responses and IL-2 production. Lymphocytes from a recovered visceral leishmaniasis patient were used to produce T cell lines against either the 30- or 42-kD antigen. Each of the lines responded to both of these antigens as well as to crude leishmania lysate. CD4+ T cell clones specific for either or both of these antigens were also isolated from a visceral leishmaniasis patient. In contrast, rabbit antisera produced against these two antigens were not crossreactive. Both antigens were effective in inducing the production of IFN-gamma from T cell lines from both leishmaniasis and Chagas' disease patients. These studies demonstrate the potential for defining parasite antigens with broad immunostimulatory capabilities.


S G Reed, E M Carvalho, C H Sherbert, D P Sampaio, D M Russo, O Bacelar, D L Pihl, J M Scott, A Barral, K H Grabstein


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