The Canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) is one of the most important emerging diseases with high prevalence in Latin America, caused largely by the Leishmania (L.) chagasi. The CVL has a major impact on public health, because domestic dogs are the most important reservoirs of the disease, both in urban as in peri-urban areas. Symptomatic infected dogs show a suppression of cell-mediated immunity, and in experimental infection the apoptosis of T lymphocytes has been observed. To investigate whether apoptosis of T lymphocytes is involved in suppression of the cellular response, the receptors involved in this process and the apoptosis will be quantified in CD4 and CD8 T cell from peripheral blood and spleen of dogs naturally infected with L. (L.) chagasi with clinical manifestations and compared to healthy dogs. Fifteen symptomatic adult dogs infected with L. (L.) chagasi and six healthy dogs from non endemic area (controls) will be included in the study. Samples from spleen and peripheral blood will be used to quantify apoptosis and investigation of possible mechanisms that induce of process. In dogs naturally infected immune suppression observed may be related to the mechanism of apoptosis of T lymphocytes, due to constant stimulation characteristic of chronic infection can trigger apoptosis and collaborate in the failure of cellular immunity, the definition of what population is undergoing apoptosis and characterization of the inducing mechanisms may be important for understanding the factors responsible for suppression of cellular immunity. Understanding this mechanism in infected dogs may allow future therapeutic interventions to reduce the depletion of lymphocytes.
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