Animal models for vaccine studies for visceral leishmaniasis

Garg, Ravendra ; Dube, Anuradha (2006) Animal models for vaccine studies for visceral leishmaniasis Indian Journal of Medical Research, 123 (3). pp. 439-454. ISSN 0971-5916


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Visceral leishmaniases (VL) or kala-azar is the most dreaded and devastating amongst the various forms of leishmaniases. The disease, though localized in certain areas only, has gained immense importance because of high mortality rate, mainly in children. The parasite is responsible for a spectrum of clinical syndromes, which can, in most extreme cases, go from an asymptomatic infection to a fatal form of VL. Chemotherapeutic measures, alone are not sufficient to control and contain the disease. As an alternate strategy, vaccination is also under experimental and clinical trails. The situation unquestionably demands the use of proper screening system, rationale chemical synthesis, vaccine development and targeted vaccine delivery. Thus, development of an acceptable vaccine is not an easy task. While the factors, which determine clinical outcomes, are in part, a feature of the parasite, it is the nature of the host and its genetic make up and immune status that play crucial role. The prerequisite of reliable animal model is that it should have a considerably good correlation with the clinical situation and is expected to mimic the pathological features and immunological responses observed in humans when exposed to a variety of Leishmania spp. with different pathogenic characteristics. Many experimental animal models like rodents, dogs and monkeys have been developed, each with specific features, but none accurately reproduces what happens in humans. In addition to the nature of the host, the major difference between natural and experimental infections is the parasite inoculum; in natural conditions, the infected sand fly vector deposits a few hundred metacyclic promastigotes into the dermis of the host, whereas experimental infections are induced by the injection (subcutaneous or intravenous) of millions of promastigotes grown in axenic cultures in vitro or amastigotes recovered from infected spleens.In public health terms, VL is the disease of humans and dogs (which may be considered secondary or ‘accidental’ hosts in the leishmanial life cycle) who often exhibit severe clinical signs and symptoms when infected, whereas reservoir hosts generally show a few, minor or no signs. This situation makes the definition of a suitable laboratory model a difficult one since the various experimental hosts may behave either like a reservoir or an accidental host. This review discusses the concept of animal models for VL and provides a critical evaluation of the most common experimental models and their respective advantages and disadvantages. Particular emphasis is given to the value of using mouse, hamster, dog and primate models, especially in the context of testing potential antileishmanial vaccines.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Council of Medical Research.
Keywords:Amastigotes; Dog; Hamster; Mice; Monkey; Promastigotes; Vaccines; Visceral Leishmaniasis
ID Code:101785
Deposited On:13 Mar 2017 05:00
Last Modified:13 Mar 2017 05:00

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