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B7-H1 Blockade Increases Survival of Dysfunctional CD8+ T Cells and Confers Protection against Leishmania donovani Infections

By Trupti Joshi, Susana Rodriguez, Vladimir Perovic, Ian A. Cockburn and Simona Stäger


Experimental visceral leishmaniasis (VL) represents an exquisite model to study CD8+ T cell responses in a context of chronic inflammation and antigen persistence, since it is characterized by chronic infection in the spleen and CD8+ T cells are required for the development of protective immunity. However, antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses in VL have so far not been studied, due to the absence of any defined Leishmania-specific CD8+ T cell epitopes. In this study, transgenic Leishmania donovani parasites expressing ovalbumin were used to characterize the development, function, and fate of Leishmania-specific CD8+ T cell responses. Here we show that L. donovani parasites evade CD8+ T cell responses by limiting their expansion and inducing functional exhaustion and cell death. Dysfunctional CD8+ T cells could be partially rescued by in vivo B7-H1 blockade, which increased CD8+ T cell survival but failed to restore cytokine production. Nevertheless, B7-H1 blockade significantly reduced the splenic parasite burden. These findings could be exploited for the design of new strategies for immunotherapeutic interventions against VL

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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