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Microb Pathog. 2009 Aug;47(2):87-93. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2009.05.002. Epub 2009 May 19.

Chemokines expression during Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni infection in resistant BALB/c and susceptible C3H/HeJ mice.

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  • 1Centro de Biotecnologia-Instituto Butantan, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


The role of innate immune responses in protection against leptospirosis remains unclear. We examined the expression of the chemokines CCL2/JE (MCP-1), CCL3/MIP-1 alpha (MIP-1 alpha) and CXCL1/KC (IL-8) regarding resistance and susceptibility to leptospirosis in experimental mice models BALB/c and C3H/HeJ, respectively. A virulent strain of Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni was used in this study. Twenty-five animals of each mouse strain of C3H/HeJ and BALB/c, were infected intraperitoneally with 10(6) cells. Five un-infected animals of each strain were kept as control. Mortality of C3H/HeJ mouse was observed while BALB/c mice were asymptomatic. The presence of leptospire DNA in tissues of infected animals was demonstrated by PCR. Chemokines were measured in serum, spleen, liver, kidney and lung of both strains of animals using immunoenzymatic assay (ELISA). Elevations in the levels of chemokines MCP-1 and IL-8 occurred in all organs and sera of C3H/HeJ and BALB/c infected mice. The levels of MIP-1 alpha were lower when compared to MCP-1 and IL-8 in all analyzed organs, with a slight increase in liver and kidney. Our results indicate that the expression of inflammatory mediators can vary greatly, depending on the tissue and mouse strains. It is possible that the resistance to Leptospira can be partially correlated to the increase of MIP-1 alpha observed in BALB/c mice, while an increasing and a sustained expression of MCP-1 and IL-8 in the lungs of C3H/HeJ mice can be correlated to the severity and progression of leptospirosis.

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