Molecular Typing of Leishmania spp. Causing Tegumentary Leishmaniasis in Northeastern Italy, 2014-2020

Skin Leish RER Network, G van der Auwera

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) is endemic but neglected in southern Europe. Therefore, this study aimed to analyze the Leishmania strains causing TL cases in northeastern Italy, where an upsurge of TL cases has been observed in the last decade. Sections from 109 formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) biopsies of skin and mucosal tissues were collected from TL cases in the selected area. Two DNA targets were amplified and sequenced: the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) and the heat-shock protein 70 gene (hsp70). An in silico analysis was also performed on 149 genomes belonging to the Leishmania donovani complex. A total of 88 out of 109 (80.7%) samples from 83 TL cases were successfully typed by ITS1 and/or hsp70. ITS1 analysis identified L. infantum in 67 cases (91.8%), while L. major (n = 4, 5.5%) and L. tropica (n = 2, 2.7%) were detected in the remaining cases that were categorized as imported. Further, the hsp70 typing of 75 autochthonous cases showed the presence of eight distinct sequence variants belonging to the Leishmania donovani complex, with high genetic variability when compared to known L. infantum populations. In conclusion, our findings show that peculiar L. infantum variants are emerging in the novel focus on TL in northeastern Italy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Leishmania
  • Heat shock protein 70
  • Sequencing
  • Tegumentary leishmaniasis
  • Whole genome sequencing


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular Typing of Leishmania spp. Causing Tegumentary Leishmaniasis in Northeastern Italy, 2014-2020'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this