We describe the relationship between lesion outcome and histopathological hallmarks in susceptible (BALB/c) and resistant (C57BL/6 and IL-4-deficient BALB/c) mouse strains over the course of a 12-week-infection with Leishmania major
in the ear. The infiltration of mononuclear cells and polymorphonuclear cells occurred within 6 h and mononuclear cells predominated one week post-infection. Permissive intracellular growth of the pathogen was associated with non-healing lesions. In contrast, tissue damage and clearance of the parasite was observed in healing lesions and was associated with inducible nitric oxide synthase expression. The identification of the structural components of tissue reaction to the parasite in this study furthers our understanding of subjacent immune effector mechanisms.