Chemokines, natural killer cells and granulocytes in the early course of Leishmania major infection in mice

Kerstin Müller, Ger Zandbergen, Birgit Hansen, Helmut Laufs, Nicole Jahnke, Werner Solbach, Tamás Laskay*

*Corresponding author for this work
84 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study the early recruitment of leukocytes into the infected skin and into the draining lymph node (LN) was investigated after subcutaneous infection of mice with Leishmania major promastigotes. Flow cytometric analysis of cells recovered from the infected skin revealed that GR-1+ granulocytes were present as early as 10 h after infection, thus representing the first leukocyte population to be recruited to the site of infection. The migration of granulocytes was shown to be associated with a rapid mRNA expression of the neutrophil-attracting chemokine KC in the infected skin. Moreover, L. major promastigotes were found to produce factor(s) that are chemotactic for human neutrophils in vitro. Experiments with human neutrophils revealed that these cells are able to phagocytose the parasites. Natural killer (NK) cells appeared at the site of infection 24 h after infection. The migration of NK cells in resistant mice was found to correlate with the expression of the NK cell-activating chemokine IP-10. Treatment of susceptible BALB/c mice with recombinant mouse IP-10 resulted in a significantly increased NK cell cytotoxic activity in the draining LN. These data suggest that both the early chemokine gene expression and the production of chemotactic factors by the parasites themselves regulate the site-directed migration and activation of cells of the innate immune response, and suggest a role of chemotactic factors in the early defense against the parasites.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)73-76
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2001

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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