Immunization with the HisAK70 DNA Vaccine Induces Resistance against Leishmania Amazonensis Infection in BALB/c Mice

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Leishmania amazonensis is the aetiological agent of a broad spectrum of leishmaniosis in South America. It can cause not only numerous cases of cutaneous leishmaniosis but also diffuse cutaneous leishmaniosis. Considering the diversity of parasite species causing different forms of the disease that coexist in the same region, it is desirable to develop a vaccine capable of eliciting cross-protection. We have previously described the use of HisAK70 DNA vaccine for immunization of mice to assess the induction of a resistant phenotype against Leishmania major and infantum infections. In this study, we extended its application in the murine model of infection by using L. amazonensis promastigotes. Our data revealed that 14 weeks post-infection, HisAK70-vaccinated mice showed key biomarkers of protection, such as higher iNOS/arginase activity, IFN-γ/IL-10, IFN-γ/IL-4, and GM-CSF/IL-10 ratios, in addition to an IgG2a-type response when compared to the control group. These findings correlated with the presentation of lower footpad swelling and parasite burdens in the immunized compared to the control mice. Overall, this study suggests that immunization with HisAK70 may be considered a suitable tool to combat leishmaniosis as it is able to induce a potent cellular immune response, which allows to control the infection caused by L. amazonensis.
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