Cytokines are key mediators of immune responses to autoantigens, tumor antigens and foreign antigens including pathogens and transplant antigens. The cytokines are produced by a variety of immune and non-immune cells and are dynamically regulated. Remarkably, during toxic and septic shock syndromes, anaphylactic shock and in certain viral infections supra-physiologic levels of cytokine storms are produced culminating in multi-organ failure and death. However, Leishmania infection is a chronic parasitic infection with alternate outcomes- healing or non-healing. Leishmania invades macrophages and inflicts the complex of diseases called Leishmaniases. Depending on the species of Leishmania and the organs affected, the diseases are categorized into Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL), Muco-cutaneous Leishmaniasis (MCL) and Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL). After successful chemotherapy of VL, a dermal manifestation- termed post-kalazar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL)- of the same infection occurs in some patients. The operational frameworks for different cytokines have been laid to discuss how these immune mediators control each of these forms of leishmaniases. One of these frameworks is the regulation of monocytopoiesis including the role of macrophages subsets and thrombopoiesis in leishmaniases. Macrophage metabolism is linked to different cytokines and is thereby associated with the manifestation of the resistance or susceptibility to Leishmania infection and of drug resistance. The chemokine-regulated immune cell movements present the landscape of infection and pathogenesis. T cells subsets- the IFN-γ-secreting Ly6C + T cells and the regulatory T cell subsets- provide the initial skewing of Th cell subset and regulation of effector Th subsets, respectively, eventually deciding the outcome of infection.
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