Comparison Between Immuno-Clinicopathological Features of Experimental and Human Visceral Leishmaniasis by Leishmania donovani



Current understanding of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) depends upon the experimental model. Different species of mouse and hamster have been used as model for VL. It is already evident that the mouse model of VL is not a true reflection of the pathology of human visceral leishmaniasis (HuVL). On the other hand, hamster is reported to be a better model of VL to study the progressive as well as chronic pathology of the disease.


To compare immuno-clinicopathological features of experimental VL (ExVL) and HuVL by Leishmania donovani.


Hamsters were infected (15 and 60 days) and their immunological, clinical and biochemical parameters were compared with the cases of HuVL.


Splenomegaly and hepatomegaly were observed in infected hamster post-infection, which are hallmarks of symptomatic HuVL cases. Clinical, biochemical and pathological manifestations of infected hamsters were consistent with that of HuVL cases, except parameters such as body weight, uric acid, alkaline phosphatase and random glucose. The absence of clear dichotomy between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines was also observed after infection at different sites of infection.


Our results suggest that the golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus), infected via the intracardiac route, constitutes a very good model for the study of experimental Leishmania donovani infections. However, certain differences in clinical presentations of infected hamsters (via intracardiac route) with HuVL suggest further optimization of this animal model like route of infection such as intradermal, which is more close to natural infection.

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The authors thank all the patients and control subjects who volunteered to participate in this study. We are thankful to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI) Lucknow, India, for providing animal house facility. We acknowledge Central Facility, M.N.N.I.T. Allahabad, India, for allowing us to use real-time PCR (qPCR). We also thank the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India, for providing fellowship to Ms. Sheetal Saini (09/1032(0006)/2015-EMR-1).


This work was supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, Science and Engineering Research Board (Ref no. SB/YS/LS-234/2013 Dated 15/05/2014) and Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India (Ref. no. BT/PR14154/MED/29/965/2015 Dated 15/03/2017).

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Correspondence to Ambak Kumar Rai.

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Saini, S., Dube, A., Sahasrabuddhe, A.A. et al. Comparison Between Immuno-Clinicopathological Features of Experimental and Human Visceral Leishmaniasis by Leishmania donovani. Acta Parasit. 65, 57–67 (2020).

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  • Visceral leishmaniasis
  • Leishmania donovani
  • Experimental model
  • Mesocricetus auratus
  • Human visceral leishmaniasis
  • Immuno-clinicopathological features