Indeterminate leprosy: a seroimmunological and histochemical evaluation

Sekar, B.; Sharma, R.N.; Anandan, D.; Vasanthi, B.; Jayasheela, M.

Leprosy Review 65(3): 167-174


ISSN/ISBN: 0305-7518
PMID: 8942147
Accession: 008853036

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An effort was made to differentiate indeterminate (IND) leprosy from other types of the paucibacillary (PB) group of leprosy and to identify among indeterminate leprosy cases those which may evolve to multibacillary (MB) leprosy, using serological, immunological and histochemical parameters. A total of 92 untreated, histologically classified (TT-19, BT-30, IND-32) patients, including 11 cases diagnosed as nonspecific dermatitis (NSD), which were clinically strongly suspected to be leprotic, were screened for antibodies against PGL-I, 35-kDa and LAM antigens. Lepromin tests and antigen demonstration in tissue by indirect immunoperoxidase staining were also carried out. Though a qualitative analysis did not differentiate, a quantitative analysis in terms of a cumulative index (CI) showed a higher antibody level amongst the indeterminate group of patients than the other groups included in PB leprosy. Also, the lepromin negative indeterminate group patients showed a higher CI than the lepromin positive cases, indicating that perhaps these may be the cases which may develop into MB leprosy. Thus, the semiquantification of antibody levels in the form of a CI may be a useful parameter to predict the possible evolution of a given case of indeterminate leprosy. Interestingly 64% of NSD cases had either antigen or antibody which indicated that they were probably cases of leprosy.