PloS one

Changes in Macrophage Gene Expression Associated with Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis Infection.

PMID 26052705


Different Leishmania species cause distinct clinical manifestations of the infectious disease leishmaniasis. It is fundamentally important to understand the mechanisms governing the interaction between Leishmania and its host cell. Little is known about this interaction between Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis and human macrophages. In this study, we aimed to identify differential gene expression between non-infected and L. (V) braziliensis-infected U937-derived macrophages. We deployed a whole human transcriptome microarray analysis using 72 hours post-infection samples and compared those samples with their non-infected counterparts. We found that 218 genes were differentially expressed between infected and non-infected macrophages. A total of 71.6% of these genes were down-regulated in the infected macrophages. Functional enrichment analyses identified the steroid and sterol/cholesterol biosynthetic processes between regulatory networks down-regulated in infected macrophages. RT-qPCR further confirmed this down-regulation in genes belonging to these pathways. These findings contrast with those from studies involving other Leishmania species at earlier infection stages, where gene up-regulation for this metabolic pathway has been reported. Sterol biosynthesis could be an important biological process associated with the expression profile of macrophages infected by L. (V.) braziliensis. Differential transcriptional results suggest a negative regulation of the genetic regulatory network involved in cholesterol biosynthesis.