Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 24893696
Vet. Parasitol. 2014 Aug;204(3-4):376-80
Visceral leishmaniasis is an anthropozoonosis caused by the protozoan Leishmania infantum (L. chagasi). In dogs, the disease presents with systemic manifestations, including neurological disorders. There are rare reports of the presence of the parasite in the central nervous system of infected dogs, and some evidences of inflammatory lesions and the breakdown of cerebral barriers have been described. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of L. infantum DNA in five specific areas of the brains of 20 naturally infected dogs by real-time PCR. For the first time, the presence of parasite DNA was detected and quantified in the brains of naturally infected dogs, in all evaluated regions. These data provide strong evidence of the presence of the Leishmania parasite in the nervous milieu and contribute to a new perspective of the pathogenesis of visceral leishmaniasis.