Microbes and infection

E-NTPDase (ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase) of Leishmania amazonensis inhibits macrophage activation.

PMID 25554487


Leishmania amazonensis, the causal agent of diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis, is known for its ability to modulate the host immune response. Because a relationship between ectonucleotidase activity and the ability of Leishmania to generate injury in C57BL/6 mice has been demonstrated, in this study we evaluated the involvement of ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase (E-NTPDase) activity of L. amazonensis in the process of infection of J774-macrophages. Our results show that high-activity parasites show increased survival rate in LPS/IFN-γ-activated cells, by inhibiting the host-cell NO production. Conversely, inhibition of E-NTPDase activity reduces the parasite survival rates, an effect associated with increased macrophage NO production. E-NTPDase activity generates substrate for the production of extracellular adenosine, which binds to A2B receptors and reduces IL-12 and TNF-α produced by activated macrophages, thus inhibiting NO production. These results indicate that E-NTPDase activity is important for survival of L. amazonensis within macrophages, showing the role of the enzyme in modulating macrophage response and lower NO production, which ultimately favors infection. Our results point to a new mechanism of L. amazonensis infection that may pave the way for the development of new treatments for this neglected disease.