Pathology and pathogenesis of human leptospirosis: a commented review

Leptospirosis is an acute bacterial septicemic febrile disease caused by pathogenic leptospires, which affect humans and animals in all parts of the world. Transmission can occur by direct contact with infected animals or, more commonly, through indirect contact with water or soil contaminated with urine from infected animals. Leptospires enter the body by penetrating mucous membranes or skin abrasions and disseminate through the hematogenic route. In humans, leptospirosis may cause a wide spectrum of symptoms. Most cases have a biphasic clinical presentation, which begins with the septicemic phase followed by immune manifestations. The severe forms of the disease may be life threatening with multisystem damage including renal failure, hepatic dysfunction, vascular damage, pulmonary hemorrhage and muscle lesions. In this review, we present and discuss the pathogenesis of the human disease and the mechanisms of cell membrane injuries, which occur mainly due to the presence of leptospires and/or their antigen/s in the host tissues.
Keywords
Leptospira;  Leptospirosis;  Cadherins;  Weil syndrome;  Acute liver and kidney injury

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De Brito T, Gonçalves da Silva AM, Abreu PAE. Pathology and pathogenesis of human leptospirosis: a commented review. Rev. Inst. Med. Trop. Sao Paulo. 2018;60:e23. doi:10.1590/S1678-9946201860023.
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