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Human Visceral Leishmaniasis: Analysis of the Specificity of Humoral Immune Response to Polypeptides of Leishmania Donovani Chagasi

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  • 1 *Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Immunology of Parasitic Disease, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2 †Department of Immunology and WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in the Immunology of Parasitic Disease, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Soluble antigens from Leishmania donovani chagasi were studied in terms of their ability to react with sera from human visceral leishmaniasis. Thirty-six polypeptides, with molecular weights ranging from 14,400 to 123,000 were demonstrated by Western blot analysis. An extensive cross-reactivity with sera from patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis and Chagas' disease also was observed. Two polypeptides (Mr 119,000 and 123,000) reacted with all the sera from visceral leishmaniasis patients. When they were electroeluted from gels and evaluated with respect to specificity to the L. donovani chagasi subspecies, these components were expressed in all strains of Leishmania tested, but not in those of Trypanosoma cruzi. These results indicated that these components are shared by Trypanosomatidae of genus Leishmania. The eluted polypeptides did not react with sera from patients with Chagas' disease, indicating the feasibility of using purified antigens to discriminate between the humoral immune responses in T. cruzi and Leishmania infections.

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