Heparin-Binding Protein Release Is Strongly Induced by Leptospira Species and Is a Candidate for an Early Diagnostic Marker of Human Leptospirosis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Leptospirosis, caused by spirochetes of the genus Leptospira, is one of the most widespread zoonoses worldwide. Efficient diagnostic methods for early diagnosis of leptospirosis are still lacking, and acute disease presents with nonspecific symptomatology and is often misdiagnosed. The leptospires pathogenic processes and virulence mechanisms remain virtually unknown. In severe infections, hemostatic impairment is frequently observed, and pathophysiological complications often develop when the host response is modulated by the pathogen. The neutrophil heparin-binding protein (HBP) is an inflammatory mediator and potent inducer of vascular leakage. RESULTS: In this study, we found that leptospires and their secreted products induce the release of HBP from stimulated neutrophils through a controlled degranulation mechanism. We acknowledged 2 leptospiral proteins as able to induce HBP degranulation. These findings have clinical implications, as high levels of HBP were detected in serum from patients with leptospirosis, especially at the early phase of the disease. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we describe a new mechanism by which the leptospirosis pathophysiological complications may arise, such as vascular leakage and edema formation. We also propose HBP as a new early screening biomarker for human leptospirosis.


External organisations
  • Instituto Butantan
  • Instituto Adolfo Lutz
  • University of São Paulo
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine


  • Leptospira, host-pathogen-interactions, infection, inflammation, neutrophils
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)996-1006
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of infectious diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Sandra Persson, 2019, Lund: Lund University: Faculty of Medicine. 76 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

View all (1)