Open Access Open Badges Research article

Identification of leptospiral 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase released in the urine of infected hamsters

Takaya Segawa1*, Kazuko H Nomura2, Sharon Yvette Angelina M Villanueva1, Mitsumasa Saito1, Kazuya Nomura2, Nina G Gloriani3 and Shin-ichi Yoshida1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Bacteriology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan

2 Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan

3 Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Public Health, University of the Philippines-Manila, Manila 1000, Philippines

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BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:132  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-132

Published: 21 May 2014



Leptospirosis is a global zoonosis caused by pathogenic Leptospira. The non-specific clinical signs and symptoms of leptospirosis lead to its misdiagnosis. To date, there is still no reliable rapid test kit that can accurately diagnose leptospirosis at bedside or in field. In this research, with the ultimate goal of formulating a rapid and accurate diagnostic tool for leptospirosis, we aimed to identify leptospiral proteins excreted in urine of infected hamsters, which are thought to mimic Weil’s disease.


Hamsters were subcutaneously infected with leptospires, and the general attributes of urine as well as the proteins excreted in it were examined. Some leptospiral proteins were found to be excreted in the urine from the early phase of infection. The most important finding of this study was the detection of the lipid-metabolizing enzyme, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HADH), before the onset of illness, when leptospires were not yet detected in the urine of infected hamsters.


This is the first report on the detection of leptospiral HADH in the host urine, which may be a possible candidate leptospiral antigen that can be used in the early diagnosis of human and animal leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis; 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase; Urine; Hamster; Diagnosis