Volume 101, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Leptospirosis is the leading cause of zoonotic morbidity and mortality globally, yet little is known about the immune mechanisms that may contribute to pathogenesis and severe disease. Although neutrophils are a key component of early immune responses to infection, they have been associated with tissue damage and inflammation in some febrile infections. To assess whether neutrophils contribute to the pathogenesis observed in severe leptospirosis, we quantitated levels of neutrophil activation markers in patients with varying disease severities. Hospitalized leptospirosis patients had significantly higher levels of toll-like receptors 2 and 4 (TLR2 and TLR4, respectively) on peripheral neutrophils than healthy controls, with the highest levels detected in patients with organ dysfunction. We observed no significant differences in other neutrophil baseline activation markers (CD62L and CD11b) or activation capacity (CD62L and CD11b levels following stimulation), regardless of disease severity. Our results provide preliminary evidence supporting the hypothesis that higher initial bacterial loads or inadequate or delayed neutrophil responses, rather than TLR-driven inflammation, may drive severe disease outcomes.


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Supplemental tables

  • Received : 23 Feb 2019
  • Accepted : 19 Jun 2019
  • Published online : 22 Jul 2019

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