Migration of Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis and its persistence in healthy skin of hamster

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Lina M Carrillo Bonilla
Andrés Montoya
Natalia Arbeláez
Horacio Cadena
Jaime Ramírez
Sara M. Robledo


Leishmaniasis are endemic in >98 countries with 14 million people infected. Leishmania survives in mammal hosts even after treatment but the capacity to persist in healthy skin and infect sandflies from these sites is poorly understood. To demonstrate migration of Leishmania (V.) panamensis into healty skin, persistence in these sites during chronic stages of infection and infectivity of persistant parasites to Lutzomyia longipalpis 10 hamsters were inoculated intradermally in the hind footpad, with 2x107 L. (V.) panamensis promastigotes. Hamsters were sacrificed at 13 (acute phase) and 53 (chronic phase) weeks post-infection. Biopsies from lesion, healty skin and othert tissues were screened by Hsp70 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA polymerase qPCR. Transmission of parasites to sandflies was determined by xenodiagnosis. Positivity was observed in all samples of acute infection group except the contralateral ear and chronic infection group, although the percentage of positivity in chronic infection was lower than that for acute infection. Two animals of the acute infection group and one from the chronic infection group were infective to sand flies after feeding over the lesion site. No infections were found in sandflies fed from healthy skin. Dissemination and persistence of L. (V.) panamensis was reported for first time and persisntace is confirmed for a period of 53 weeks. However, parasite load in tissues different from the inoculation site was lower and transmission to the sand fly vectors from these sites was not observed. Hsp70 PCR and qPCR are useful techniques for determining infection status of vertebrate hosts.


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