Volume 98, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



There is evidence that elderly patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) have more mucosal and disseminated diseases than young patients and their cells produce less antigen-induced interferon (IFN)-γ. Herein, we compared the roles of interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-15 as modulators of antigen-induced immune responses and the incidence of adverse reaction and response to therapy in young versus elderly patients with CL. Study participants included 35 senior (60–85 years) and 35 young (18–40 years) patients who had a diagnosis of CL documented by typical cutaneous lesions containing DNA. Elderly patients had less lymph node enlargement. Antigen-induced blood cell cytokine responses were studied in the absence or presence of IL-10 antibody or exogenously added recombinant IL-15. The ratio of IFN-γ/IL-10 was lower in elderly patients, and IFN-γ production was enhanced by either neutralization of IL-10 or exogenous recombinant IL-15 in blood cells from elderly but not young patients. Patients were treated three times weekly with antimony at 20 mg/kg/day for 20 doses. Although there was no difference in response to therapy between the two groups, two young patients needed rescue therapy with amphotericin B. Ventricular arrhythmias and ventricular overload were more frequent in elderly patients. We conclude that elderly patients have alterations in the immune response that may influence clinical manifestations, but we did not find that they had a higher failure rate than young subjects to antimony therapy. However, because of the high rate of electrocardiographic abnormalities during therapy, antimony should not be used in elderly patients with CL.


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  • Received : 20 Sep 2017
  • Accepted : 10 Feb 2018

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