Leishmania (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) parasites are known to cause a broad spectrum of clinical diseases in humans, collectively known as the leishmaniases. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is the most common clinical presentation with varying degrees of severity largely driven by host immune responses, specifically the interplay between innate and adaptive immune response. The establishment of a T lymphocyte driven cell-mediated immune response, leading to activated phagocytic cells, leading to Leishmania parasite killing and control of infection. Alternatively, the Leishmania parasite manipulates the host immune system, enabling parasite proliferation and clinical disease. Here we review how the cumulative interactions of different aspects of the host immune response determines disease outcome, severity, and immunity to re-infection.
Part of the book: Leishmaniasis