Virulence Factors and Immune Evasion in Leishmania spp.
- Pp. 291-345 (55)Jose M. Requena and Manuel Soto
Protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania cause a group of diseases, known as leishmaniasis, affecting humans and also household pets, mainly canids. In the human host, different pathological outcomes ranging from self-healing cutaneous lesions to systemic visceral leishmaniasis are produced by these parasites; these diseases affect millions of people worldwide. Similar to a virus, bacteria and other parasites, Leishmania need to evade immune destruction with the aim of completing their life cycle in their mammalian hosts. Moreover, the long co-evolutionary history between parasites of the genus Leishmania and their hosts for several millions of years has led to a balanced relationship. To avoid the powerful immune system of mammals, the parasite has developed a set of sophisticated mechanisms to persist, replicate, and spread.