Leishmania major: Low infection dose causes short-lived hyperalgesia and cytokines upregulation in mice

Marc Christophe Karam, Hamdan G. Hamdan, Najib A. Abi Chedid, Kikki B. Bodman-Smith, Lesley Jane E. Eales-Reynolds, George M. Baroody

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16 Scopus citations


Neural involvement was traditionally associated with leprosy. However, more recent studies have shown the presence of a persistent hyperalgesia in cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by the infection of BALB/c mice with a high dose of Leishmania major. In this study, we report the presence of hyperalgesia within the first two weeks of infection caused by a low dose of the parasite. Using BALB/c mice, we demonstrate the presence of hyperalgesia during the first 10 days of infection as assessed by thermal pain tests. After 10 days these decreased pain thresholds start to recover resulting in similar levels to those in uninfected controls during the third week of infection. This hyperalgesia is accompanied by a sustained upregulation of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and an early upregulation of interleukin-6 (IL-6) which is restored to normal levels after five days of infection. In conclusion, this study shows that, during early infection, the low dose of L. major causes hyperalgesia accompanied by an upregulation of IL-1β and IL-6 and that these effects are reversed within the first two weeks of infection.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis
  • Cytokines
  • Hyperalgesia
  • Interleukin-1β
  • Interleukin-6
  • T helper cells


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