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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 3967436, 9 pages
Review Article

Dendritic Cells and Leishmania Infection: Adding Layers of Complexity to a Complex Disease

1Centro de Pesquisas Gonçalo Moniz (CPqGM), 40296-710 Salvador, BA, Brazil
2Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA), 40170-115 Salvador, BA, Brazil
3Instituto de Investigação em Imunologia (iii), 01246-903 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 23 October 2015; Accepted 28 December 2015

Academic Editor: Alice O. Kamphorst

Copyright © 2016 Daniel Feijó 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.


Leishmaniasis is a group of neglected diseases whose clinical manifestations depend on factors from the host and the pathogen. It is an important public health problem worldwide caused by the protozoan parasite from the Leishmania genus. Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) is the most frequent form of this disease transmitted by the bite of an infected sandfly into the host skin. The parasites can be uptook and/or recognized by macrophages, neutrophils, and/or dendritic cells (DCs). Initially, DCs were described to play a protective role in activating the immune response against Leishmania parasites. However, several reports showed a dichotomic role of DCs in modulating the host immune response to susceptibility or resistance in CL. In this review, we discuss (1) the interactions between DCs and parasites from different species of Leishmania and (2) the crosstalk of DCs and other cells during CL infection. The complexity of these interactions profoundly affects the adaptive immune response and, consequently, the disease outcome, especially from Leishmania species of the New World.