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Volume 46, Number 4, August 2013

Autoimmune manifestations in patients with visceral leishmaniasis 

Evangelos Liberopoulos*, Anastazia Kei, Fotini Apostolou, Moses Elisaf

Received: November 25, 2011    Revised: December 27, 2011    Accepted: January 9, 2012   


Corresponding author:

University of Ioannina Medical School, 45 110 Ioannina, Greece.
E-mail address: (E. Liberopoulos). 


Background and purpose: 

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a vector-borne protozoal infection caused by replication of Leishmania species in macrophages. VL is characterized by fever, hepatosplenomegaly and cytopenia.Apart from those classic clinical characteristics, VL has been associated with autoimmune clinical and laboratory features. Reported herein are 16 consecutive patients with VL who were checked for laboratory autoimmune manifestations. A variety of autoimmune antibodies including elevated titers of antinuclear antibodies and rheumatoid factor were detected in all patients. Of note, no laboratory autoimmune manifestations were detected in the seven patients who were re-evaluated 3 months after therapy. It is concluded that autoimmune laboratory manifestations during VL infection are common. These may mistakenly lead to diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder. 


Key words:

Autoantibodies; Autoimmune manifestations; Cryoglobulinemia; Leishmaniasis; Systemic lupus erythematosus