Leishmaniasis in rheumatoid arthritis

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Leishmaniasis represents a complex of diseases with an important clinical and epidemiological diversity. Visceral leishmaniasis is of higher priority than cutaneous leishmaniasis as it is a fatal disease in the absence of treatment. The clinical spectrum of leishmaniasis and control of the infection are influenced by the parasite-host relationship. The role of cellular immune responses of the Th1 type in the protection against disease in experimental and human leishmaniasis is well established. TNF-α has been implicated in cytokine-induced macrophage activation and tissue granuloma formation, two activities linked to control of intracellular visceral infection caused by Leishmania donovani. Anti- tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) strategies have had a marked and substantial impact in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, however the clinical use of TNF-α antagonists has been accompanied by increased reporting of infections. Here we report the first case of visceral leishmaniasis in a patient treated for a long period of time with human anti TNF-α monoclonal antibody, adalimumab. Due to the low incidence rate of Mediterranean visceral leishmaniasis, a systematic screening for leishmaniasis in all patients treated with biologics may be not recommended. However, for those patients living at high risk of leishmaniasis exposure, a periodical serological monitoring should be performed during therapy with anti-TNF monoclonal antibodies.



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How to Cite

Pizzorni, C., Secchi, M., & Cutolo, M. (2007). Leishmaniasis in rheumatoid arthritis. Reumatismo, 59(3), 235–239. https://doi.org/10.4081/reumatismo.2007.235