Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi-infected mice as a model for the study of glomerular lesions in visceral leishmaniasis.

Abstract

Renal involvement in visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is very frequent but the pathogenesis of this nephropathy is poorly understood. In previous studies using dogs with VL we have detected new immunopathological elements in the glomeruli such as T cells and adhesion molecules. Although Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi-infected dogs and hamsters are considered to be good models for VL, their use is limited for immunopathologic studies. The use of isogenic mouse strains susceptible to L. (L.) chagasi infection was an alternative but, on the other hand, the renal lesions of these animals have not yet been characterized. Thus, our purpose in the present study was to characterize mice infected with L. (L.) chagasi as a suitable model to study VL nephropathy. Kidney samples were obtained from control mice (N = 12) and from BALB/c mice (N = 24) injected intraperitoneally with 20 million L. (L.) chagasi amastigotes 7, 15, and 30 days after injection and processed for histopathological studies and detection of IgG deposits. Glomerular hypercellularity was clearly visible and, upon Mason's trichrome and periodic acid methenamine silver staining, a pattern suggestive of mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis was observed in mice with VL. Time-dependent IgG deposits were also seen in infected mice. We consider L. (L.) chagasi-infected mice to be a suitable model for studies of the immunopathogenesis of glomerular lesions in VL.

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