The genes encoding murine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), IL-2, IFN-gamma or TNF-alpha were cloned individually into an expression plasmid under the control of the inducible promoter nirB and transfected into the aroA- aroD- deletion mutant strain of Salmonella typhimurium (BRD509). These S. typhimurium derivatives (henceforward called constructs and termed GIDMIF, GIDIL2, GIDIFN and GIDTNF) expressed their respective cytokines in vitro under anaerobic conditions and stably colonized BALB/c mice up to 14 days after oral administration. The highly susceptible BALB/c mice that had received the constructs orally and that had been subsequently infected via the footpad with Leishmania major, developed significantly reduced disease compared with control mice administered the untransfected Salmonella strain (BRD509). Importantly, a combination of GIDMIF, GIDIFN, and GIDTNF administered orally after L. major infection was able to significantly limit lesion development and reduced parasite loads by up to three orders of magnitude. Spleen and lymph node cells of mice administered this combination expressed markedly higher levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) compared with those from mice receiving an equivalent dose of the control strain of Salmonella (BRD509). These data therefore demonstrate the feasibility of therapeutic treatment in an infectious disease model using cytokines delivered by attenuated Salmonella. The protective effect observed correlates with the induction of inducible nitric oxide synthase in vivo.