Volume 76, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Low levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and cortisol hormones produced by the suprarenal cortex have been associated with diseases involving chronic inflammation, low interferon (IFN)-γ, and high interleukin (IL)-6. Diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis (DL), a long-lasting intracellular parasitic infectious disease, can spread unknown levels of DHEA and cortisol. Serum concentrations of both were measured in 5 patients with DL, in 15 patients with localized lesions produced by Leishmania (LL), and in 20 healthy volunteers. was identified as the causal agent in patients with DL and LL. Hormone levels were lower in DL compared with controls and LL. Furthermore, we detected a lower percentage of IFN-γ–positive cells with higher levels of IL-6 and higher titers of anti-Leishmania antibodies in patients with DL, whereas patients with LL were similar to controls. These data suggest that patients with DL may be good candidates for DHEA and cortisol supplementation.


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  • Received : 28 Feb 2006
  • Accepted : 27 Nov 2006

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