To study the prevalence of leptospira in acute hepatitis syndrome and to assess interleukin (IL)-8 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha levels in the pathogenesis of hepatitis due to leptospiral infection. Two hundred and forty-seven consecutive cases with symptoms of acute hepatitis and 30 healthy controls were enrolled in the study and detailed clinical history was elicited from them. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for HAV, HBV, HCV and HEV were performed to rule out common viral aetiology of hepatitis. IgM antibodies to leptospira were detected by ELISA. IL-8 and TNF-alpha levels were estimated in leptospira-positive cases and healthy controls by ELISA. Out of 247 cases of acute hepatitis, 46 (18.62%) were observed to be positive for IgM antibodies for leptospira. The mean age of these patients was 31.99±0.28 years (25 males and 21 females; M/F ratio: 1.19: 1). The mean ALT, AST and ASP were raised in the majority of patients. IL-8 was found to be elevated (130.81 pg/ml) in a large majority of cases 41/46, 89.1% (P<0.001). Patients with more severe symptoms were associated with higher levels of IL-8. One mortality was observed due to leptospira. Unpredictably, TNF-alpha level was largely suppressed (45.63 pg/ml) in most of the leptospira-positive patients in comparison with healthy controls. Leptospira-induced hepatitis should be actively looked for in patients negative for A-E viral hepatitis. IL-8 appears to play an important role in the pathogenesis of leptospiral hepatitis. High TNF-alpha should alert clinicians for aggressive in hospital management of patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases