Human visceral leishmaniosis is endemic in Southern Italy. where the dog is the main reservoir of viscerotropic strains of Leishmania infantum. The release of nitric oxide (NO) by interferon (IFN)-gamma -activated macrophages is an important leishmanicidal mechanism in several animal species. In this work NO production, phagocytosis and killing capacity of monocyte-derived dog macrophages were evaluated in vitro before and after administration of a vaccine composed of killed Leishmania infantum promastigotes. Moreover, IFN-gamma content was measured in concanavalin A-activated dog peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) supernatants employed for macrophage stimulation. Phagocytosis, killing capacity and NO production by canine macrophages increased significantly 1 month after vaccine administration, and the increase also persisted 5 months later. In addition, the amount of IFN-gamma in PBMC supernatants was significantly higher after vaccination. Overall, our results suggest the usefulness of evaluating the in vivo protective role of this promastigote preparation in dogs
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