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Highly susceptible BALB/c mice subjected to adult thymectomy followed by prolonged (15 weeks), twice-weekly injections of a low dose (100 micrograms) of CD4 monoclonal antibody (MoAb) develop resistance to otherwise uniformly fatal and disseminating Leishmania major infection. In contrast, similar treatment with CD8 MoAb has no effect on the course of L. major infection. CD4 MoAb administered after the lesion establishment also has no effect. Mice which become resistant following CD4 MoAb treatment developed the classical delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) which persisted at 72 h after footpad injection with killed L. major promastigotes. A substantial degree of resistance can also be induced in the BALB/c mice with two i.v. high doses of 500 micrograms of CD4 MoAb given immediately prior to L. major infection. The treated mice developed classical DTH and significantly smaller lesions. The spleen cells from these mice also produced significantly lower levels of IL-3 compared to that of untreated control mice when cultured with L. major antigens in vitro. In contrast, genetically resistant CBA mice treated with CD4 MoAb developed significantly larger lesions but lower levels of classical DTH compared to untreated mice. These data confirmed and extended earlier reports on the prophylactic effect of CD4 MoAb in susceptible BALB/c mice and the disease exacerbative effect in the resistant CBA mice. The data also further illustrate the direct correlation between classical DTH and resistance, and the inverse correlation between IL-3 production and resistance in experimental cutaneous leishmaniasis.


Journal article


Clin Exp Immunol

Publication Date





438 - 443


Animals, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte, Disease Susceptibility, Female, Hypersensitivity, Delayed, Immunity, Innate, Interleukin-3, Leishmaniasis, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred CBA, Spleen