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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2005 Jan;72(1):13-20.

Experimental leptospirosis in marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus): a new model for studies of severe pulmonary leptospirosis.

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  • 1Department of Bacteriology, Oswaldo Cruz Institute/FIOCRUZ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Experimental infection of marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus) with Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni showed microscopic patterns of tissue reactions comparable to those seen in the severe forms of human leptospirosis, including intra-alveolar hemorrhage. The most impressive microscopic changes were seen in the lung and kidney of animals killed at days 6 and 12 after inoculation. There were extensive and irregular areas of hemorrhage predominating around main bronchial branches or diffusely spread to the pulmonary parenchyma, as well as severe tubulointerstitial nephritis. Antibody response detected by the microscopic agglutination test was quantitatively similar to those seen in humans and paralleled severity of tissue lesions. The distribution of leptospires or antigenic debris in infected tissues was observed by immunofluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy. Large numbers of typical leptospires were seen in the lumen of proximal renal tubules. Positive reactions showing antigenic debris were closely associated with sites of tissue damage.

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