Genetic background influences the outcome of Leishmania major infection. C57BL/6 mice mount a Th1 response and resolve infection. In contrast, BALB/c mice mount a Th2 response and develop chronic lesions. This susceptible phenotype is seen even though BALB/c mice generate IFN-γ-producing T cells at proportions similar to C57BL/6 mice in their lymph nodes (LN) early after infection. We had previously shown that chemokine receptor CXCR3 mediates immunity against L. major by recruiting IFN-γ-producing T cells to the lesions of C57BL/6 mice. Therefore, we hypothesized that IFN-γ-secreting T cells in BALB/c mice are unable to confer protection because they may be defective in up-regulating CXCR3. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed kinetics of CXCR3-expressing T cells in the LN and lesions of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice during L. major infection. Additionally, we compared the ability of T cells from BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice to up-regulate CXCR3 upon activation. We found that resolution of L. major infection in C57BL/6 mice was associated with an increase in the proportion of CXCR3+ T cells in regional LN and lesions, whereas disease progression in BALB/c mice was associated with a decrease in these populations. Anti-CD3/CD28-activated T cells from naive BALB/c but not C57BL/6 mice were defective in up-regulating CXCR3. Impaired induction of CXCR3 on BALB/c T cells was not due to lack of IFN-γ and was mediated partially by IL-10 but not IL-4 or IL-13. We propose that defective CXCR3 up-regulation on T cells in BALB/c mice may contribute to L. major susceptibility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy