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Localized skin lesions are characteristic of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL); however, Leishmania (Viannia) species, which are responsible for most CL cases in the Americas, can spread systemically, sometimes resulting in mucosal disease. Detection of Leishmania has been documented in healthy mucosal tissues (conjunctiva, tonsils, and nasal mucosa) and healthy skin of CL patients and in individuals with asymptomatic infection in areas of endemicity of L (V) panamensis and L (V) braziliensis transmission. However, the conditions and mechanisms that favor parasite persistence in healthy mucosal tissues are unknown. In this descriptive study, we compared the cell populations of the nasal mucosa (NM) of healthy donors and patients with active CL and explored the immune gene expression signatures related to molecular detection of Leishmania in this tissue in the absence of clinical signs or symptoms of mucosal disease. The cellular composition and gene expression profiles of NM samples from active CL patients were similar to those of healthy volunteers, with a predominance of epithelial over immune cells, and within the CD45+ cell population, a higher frequency of CD66b+ followed by CD14+ and CD3+ cells. In CL patients with molecular evidence of Leishmania persistence in the NM, genes characteristic of an anti-inflammatory and tissue repair responses (IL4R, IL5RA, POSTN, and SATB1) were overexpressed relative to NM samples from CL patients in which Leishmania was not detected. Here, we report the first immunological description of subclinically infected NM tissues of CL patients and provide evidence of a local anti-inflammatory environment favoring parasite persistence in the NM. Copyright © 2020 American Society for Microbiology.


María J Gómez-Zafra, Adriana Navas, Jimena Jojoa, Julieth Murillo, Camila González, María Adelaida Gómez. Immune Profile of the Nasal Mucosa in Patients with Cutaneous Leishmaniasis. Infection and immunity. 2020 Apr 20;88(5)

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PMID: 32094254

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