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Role of Nonesterified Unsaturated Fatty Acids in the Pathophysiological Processes of Leptospiral Infection

Patricia Burth, Mauricio Younes-lbrahim, Maria C. B. Santos, Hugo C. Castro-Faria Neto and Mauro Velho de Castro Faria
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Vol. 191, No. 1 (Jan. 1, 2005), pp. 51-57
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30076891
Page Count: 7
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Role of Nonesterified Unsaturated Fatty Acids in the Pathophysiological Processes of Leptospiral Infection
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Abstract

Organ malfunctions in patients with leptospirosis have been associated with the bacterial glycolipoprotein endotoxin and with its nonesterified unsaturated fatty acid (NEUFA) components. We examined the involvement of NEUFAs in the pathophysiological processes of leptospirosis. Patients showed a moderate increase in serum concentrations of oleic and linoleic acids but an important decrease in serum concentrations of albumin. A highly significant correlation between serum concentrations of creatinine or total bilirubin and the oleicplus-linoleic acid:albumin ratio was revealed. We used the $Na^+$,$k^+$-ATPase inhibitory property of NEUFAs to test the capacity of serum to prevent the cytotoxic effects of NEUFAs in vitro. Albumin solutions and serum samples from healthy volunteers, but not serum samples from severely affected patients, were able to revert the $Na^+$,k^+$-ATPase inhibition by oleic acid. On the basis of these data, we defined a "serum protection factor" that can be helpful in predicting NEUFA toxicity. Our data support the concept that the administration of human albumin to patients may be helpful in severe leptospirosis cases.

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