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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 324915, 19 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/324915
Review Article

The Dialogue of the Host-Parasite Relationship: Leishmania spp. and Trypanosoma cruzi Infection

1Laboratório de Bioquímica de Protozoários e Imunofisiologia do Exercício, Disciplina de Parasitologia, DMIP, FCM, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Avenida Professor Manuel de Abreu 444, Pavilhão Américo Piquet Carneiro, 5° andar, Vila Isabel, 20550-170 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2Programa de Pós Graduação em Microbiologia/FCM/UERJ, Avenida Professor Manuel de Abreu 444, Pavilhão Américo Piquet Carneiro, 3° andar, Vila Isabel, 20550-170 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
3Programa de Pós Graduação em Fisiopatologia Clínica e Experimental/FCM/UERJ, Avenida Professor Manuel de Abreu 444, Pavilhão Américo Piquet Carneiro, 5° andar, Vila Isabel, 20550-170 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
4Laboratório de Imunofarmacologia Parasitária, Disciplina de Parasitologia, DMIP, FCM, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Avenida Professor Manuel de Abreu 444, Pavilhão Américo Piquet Carneiro, 5° andar, Vila Isabel, 20550-170 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 27 June 2014; Revised 1 September 2014; Accepted 2 September 2014

Academic Editor: Miriam Rodriguez-Sosa

Copyright © 2015 Carlos Gustavo Vieira de Morais et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The intracellular protozoa Leishmania spp. and Trypanosoma cruzi and the causative agents of Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, respectively, belong to the Trypanosomatidae family. Together, these two neglected tropical diseases affect approximately 25 million people worldwide. Whether the host can control the infection or develops disease depends on the complex interaction between parasite and host. Parasite surface and secreted molecules are involved in triggering specific signaling pathways essential for parasite entry and intracellular survival. The recognition of the parasite antigens by host immune cells generates a specific immune response. Leishmania spp. and T. cruzi have a multifaceted repertoire of strategies to evade or subvert the immune system by interfering with a range of signal transduction pathways in host cells, which causes the inhibition of the protective response and contributes to their persistence in the host. The current therapeutic strategies in leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis are very limited. Efficacy is variable, toxicity is high, and the emergence of resistance is increasingly common. In this review, we discuss the molecular basis of the host-parasite interaction of Leishmania and Trypanosoma cruzi infection and their mechanisms of subverting the immune response and how this knowledge can be used as a tool for the development of new drugs.