ß-Adrenergic blockade protects BALB/c mice against infection with a small inoculum of Leishmania mexicana mexicana (LV4).

International immunopharmacology

PubMedID: 25461918

García-Miss MD, Mut-Martín MC, Góngora-Alfaro JL. ß-Adrenergic blockade protects BALB/c mice against infection with a small inoculum of Leishmania mexicana mexicana (LV4). Int Immunopharmacol. 2014;24(1):59-67.
In order to test the influence of the sympathetic nervous system on Leishmania mexicana infection, groups of female BALB/c mice were treated (i.p.) with the non-selective ß-adrenergic receptor (ß-AR) antagonist (S)-propranolol (5mg/kg thrice a day), the ß2-AR agonist clenbuterol (1mg/kg once a day) or the a2-AR antagonist yohimbine (2mg/kg twice a day) during 5days. During the second day of treatments, mice were inoculated in the footpad with 1×10(6) or 1×10(3) metacyclic promastigotes of L. mexicana mexicana (LV4). The lesion size was measured weekly, and parasite burden on week 12. In mice treated with (S)-propranolol, the percentage of splenic T lymphocytes producing IFN-? after antigen challenge was determined by flow cytometry. In mice infected with 1×10(6) parasites, only (S)-propranolol caused a reduction of footpad swelling (p<0.05, weeks 11-12), without effects on parasite burden, or in the percentage of IFN-?-immunopositive CD4(+) or CD8(+) T lymphocytes. In mice infected with 1×10(3) parasites, the effects of treatments vs. control group were as follows: (a) inhibition of footpad swelling by (S)-propranolol (p<0.01, weeks 3-12), clenbuterol (p<0.05, weeks 7-10), and yohimbine (p<0.01, week 7); (b) a decrease of the parasite burden by (S)-propranolol (p<0.01) and yohimbine (p<0.05); (c) in control mice the percentage of CD4(+) T-cells producing IFN-? was 6.2±0.5%, while in those treated with (S)-propranolol it increased to 8.7±0.6% (p<0.01); (d) in control mice the percentage of CD8(+) T-cells producing IFN-? was 3.1±0.4%, while in those treated with (S)-propranolol it increased to 10.4±0.2% (p<0.01). These results indicate that the blockade of ß-ARs during infection of BALB/c mice with an inoculum of L. mexicana mexicana similar to that delivered by the bite of a sand fly produces a Th1 bias in the immune response, favoring an increment of T lymphocytes secreting IFN-?, which correlated with a reduced parasite burden (p<0.05, Spearman's test). We suggest that ß-AR antagonists could be of therapeutic value, either as treatment or as adjuvant of vaccines for L. mexicana.