University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz



Leishmaniasis is a disease observed after inoculation of a protozoan parasite into the skin inducing symptoms ranging from local, self-limiting lesions to life-threatening visceralisation. Protective immunity against Leishmania is mediated by antigen specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells which are primed by infected dendritic cells (DC). However, decisions about resistance/susceptibility are made within a few days post infection suggesting an important role for innate effector cells. The role of the innate lymphocyte compartment for protection and regulation of the local immune response is poorly understood. Therefore, we aim to further define the phenotype and function of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) and NK cells in L. major infections. ILC2 are the predominant ILC subsets in steady state in skin. ILC2 may be important for healing and tissue integrity, whereas ILC1 and NK cells may contribute to proper Th priming and parasite elimination. Using a physiologically relevant low dose inoculum, we aim to characterize the role ILCs play for protection against this important human pathogen.

Prof. Dr. Esther von Stebut-Borschitz
Project Leader
Dr. Kirsten Dietze-Schwonberg