Scientific Papers

Evolving immunometabolic response to the early Leishmania infantum infection in the spleen of BALB/c mice described by gene expression profiling

Transcriptional analysis is a useful approximation towards the identification of global changes in host-pathogen interaction, in order to elucidate tissue-specific immune responses that drive the immunopathology of the disease. For this purpose, expression of 223 genes involved in innate and adaptive immune response, lipid metabolism, prostaglandin synthesis, C-type lectin receptors and MAPK signaling pathway, among other processes, were analyzed during the early infection in spleens of BALB/c mice infected by Leishmania infantum. Our results highlight the activation of immune responses in spleen tissue as early as 1 day p.i., but a mixed pro-inflammatory and regulatory response at day 10 p.i., failing to induce an effective response towards control of Leishmania infection in the spleen. This ineffective response is coupled to downregulation of metabolic markers relevant for pathways related to icosanoid biosynthesis, adipocytokine signaling or HIF-1 signaling, among others. Interestingly, the over-representation of processes related to immune response, revealed Il21 as a potential early biomarker of L. infantum infection in the spleen. These results provide insights into the relationships between immune and metabolic responses at transcriptional level during the first days of infection in the L. infantum-BALB/c experimental model, revealing the deregulation of many important pathways and processes crucial for parasitic control in infected tissues.

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