Leishmania RNA virus-1 is similarly detected among metastatic and non-metastatic phenotypes in a prospective cohort of American Tegumentary Leishmaniasis

Braulio Mark Valencia, Rachel Lau, Ruwandi Kariyawasam, Marlene Jara, Ana Pilar Ramos, Mathilde Chantry, Justin T Lana, Andrea K Boggild, Alejandro Llanos-Cuentas

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American Tegumentary Leishmaniasis (ATL) is an endemic and neglected disease of South America. Here, mucosal leishmaniasis (ML) disproportionately affects up to 20% of subjects with current or previous localised cutaneous leishmaniasis (LCL). Preclinical and clinical reports have implicated the Leishmania RNA virus-1 (LRV1) as a possible determinant of progression to ML and other severe manifestations such as extensive cutaneous and mucosal disease and treatment failure and relapse. However, these associations were not consistently found in other observational studies and are exclusively based on cross-sectional designs. In the present study, 56 subjects with confirmed ATL were assessed and followed out for 24-months post-treatment. Lesion biopsy specimens were processed for molecular detection and quantification of Leishmania parasites, species identification, and LRV1 detection. Among individuals presenting LRV1 positive lesions, 40% harboured metastatic phenotypes; comparatively 58.1% of patients with LRV1 negative lesions harboured metastatic phenotypes (p = 0.299). We found treatment failure (p = 0.575) and frequency of severe metastatic phenotypes (p = 0.667) to be similarly independent of the LRV1. Parasite loads did not differ according to the LRV1 status (p = 0.330), nor did Leishmanin skin induration size (p = 0.907) or histopathologic patterns (p = 0.780). This study did not find clinical, parasitological, or immunological evidence supporting the hypothesis that LRV1 is a significant determinant of the pathobiology of ATL.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0010162
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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