Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Imipramine exploits histone deacetylase 11 to increase the IL-12/IL-10 ratio in macrophages infected with antimony-resistant Leishmania donovani and clears organ parasites in experimental infection.

PMID 25217162


The efflux of antimony through multidrug resistance protein (MDR)-1 is the key factor in the failure of metalloid treatment in kala-azar patients infected with antimony-resistant Leishmania donovani (Sb(R)LD). Previously we showed that MDR-1 upregulation in Sb(R)LD infection is IL-10-dependent. Imipramine, a drug in use for the treatment of depression and nocturnal enuresis in children, inhibits IL-10 production from Sb(R)LD-infected macrophages (Sb(R)LD-Mϕs) and favors accumulation of surrogates of antimonials. It inhibits IL-10-driven nuclear translocation of c-Fos/c-Jun, critical for enhanced MDR-1 expression. The drug upregulates histone deacetylase 11, which inhibits acetylation of IL-10 promoter, leading to a decrease in IL-10 production from Sb(R)LD-Mϕs. It abrogates Sb(R)LD-mediated p50/c-Rel binding to IL-10 promoter and preferentially recruits p65/RelB to IL-12 p35 and p40 promoters, causing a decrease in IL-10 and overproduction of IL-12 in Sb(R)LD-Mϕs. Histone deacetylase 11 per se does not influence IL-12 promoter activity. Instead, a imipramine-mediated decreased IL-10 level allows optimal IL-12 production in Sb(R)LD-Mϕs. Furthermore, exogenous rIL-12 inhibits intracellular Sb(R)LD replication, which can be mimicked by the presence of Ab to IL-10. This observation indicated that reciprocity exists between IL-10 and IL-12 and that imipramine tips the balance toward an increased IL-12/IL-10 ratio in Sb(R)LD-Mϕs. Oral treatment of infected BALB/c mice with imipramine in combination with sodium stibogluconate cleared organ Sb(R)LD parasites and caused an expansion of the antileishmanial T cell repertoire where sodium stibogluconate alone had no effect. Our study deciphers a detailed molecular mechanism of imipramine-mediated regulation of IL-10/IL-12 reciprocity and its impact on Sb(R)LD clearance from infected hosts.

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