Impaired activation of lesional CD8+ T-cells is associated with enhanced expression of Programmed Death-1 in Indian Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis Shibabrata Mukherjee, Ritika Sengupta, Debanjan Mukhopadhyay, Claudia Braun, Sneha Mitra, Susmita Roy, Nilay Kanti Das, Uttara Chatterjee, Esther von Stebut-Borschitz & Mitali Chatterjee Post Kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL), caused by Leishmania donovani is the dermal sequel of Visceral Leishmaniasis and importantly, is the proposed disease reservoir. The survival of Leishmania parasites within monocytes/macrophages hinges on its ability to effectively nullify immune activation mechanisms. Thus, delineating the disease-promoting immune mechanisms can facilitate development of immunotherapeutic strategies. Accordingly, in the absence of an animal model, this study aimed to delineate the status of CD8+ T-cells in patients with PKDL. At disease presentation, the absence of CD4+ T-cells at lesional sites was concomitant with an overwhelming infiltration of CD8+ T-cells that demonstrated an absence of Perforin, Granzyme and Zap-70, along with an enhanced expression of Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) and the skin-homing CCL17. Additionally, the lesional CCR4+CD8+ population was associated with an enhanced expression of IL-10 and IL-5. In circulation, the enhanced CD8+CCR4+ T-cell population and raised levels of CCL17/22 was associated with an increased frequency of PD-1, while CD127 was decreased. Taken together, in PKDL, the enhanced plasma and lesional CCL17 accounted for the dermal homing of CD8+CCR4+ T-cells, that along with a concomitant upregulation of PD-1 and IL-10 mediated immune inactivation, emphasizing the need for designing immunotherapies capable of reinvigorating T-cell potency.

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