Leptospira interrogans and Leptospira peptidoglycans induce the release of tumor necrosis factor alpha from human monocytes

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1996 May 1;138(2-3):211-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1996.tb08159.x.


Elevated plasma concentrations of the cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) have been observed in patients affected by leptospirosis. In this study we found that a preparation of peptidoglycan of Leptospira interrogans, serovar copenhageni, was able to induce the release of TNF alpha from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. TNF alpha induction occurred in a dose dependent manner and was not affected by the endotoxin inhibitor polymixin B. This is the first report on induction of TNF alpha release by a peptidoglycan of spirochetes. Our findings are consistent with existing clinical data and provide a potential mechanism for TNF alpha production.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Leptospira interrogans / pathogenicity*
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Peptidoglycan / administration & dosage
  • Peptidoglycan / toxicity*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*
  • Weil Disease / etiology
  • Weil Disease / immunology


  • Peptidoglycan
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha