Background. Amphotericin B (AmB), the most effective drug against leishmaniasis, has serious toxicity. As Leishmania species are obligate intracellular parasites of antigen presenting cells (APC), an immunopotentiating APC-specific AmB nanocarrier would be ideally suited to reduce the drug dosage and regimen requirements in leishmaniasis treatment. Here, we report a nanocarrier that results in effective treatment shortening of cutaneous leishmaniasis in a mouse model, while also enhancing L. major specific T-cell immune responses in the infected host.
Methods. We used a Pan-DR-binding epitope (PADRE)-derivatized-dendrimer (PDD), complexed with liposomal amphotericin B (LAmB) in an L. major mouse model and analyzed the therapeutic efficacy of low-dose PDD/LAmB vs full dose LAmB.
Results. PDD was shown to escort LAmB to APCs in vivo, enhanced the drug efficacy by 83% and drug APC targeting by 10-fold and significantly reduced parasite burden and toxicity. Fortuitously, the PDD immunopotentiating effect significantly enhanced parasite-specific T-cell responses in immunocompetent infected mice.
Conclusions. PDD reduced the effective dose and toxicity of LAmB and resulted in elicitation of strong parasite specific T-cell responses. A reduced effective therapeutic dose was achieved by selective LAmB delivery to APC, bypassing bystander cells, reducing toxicity and inducing antiparasite immunity.