Clinical Trial
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Utility of measuring serum levels of anti-PGL-I antibody, neopterin and C-reactive protein in monitoring leprosy patients during multi-drug treatment and reactions.

OBJECTIVE: To verify the validity of measuring the levels of Mycobacterium leprae-specific anti-phenolic glycolipid (PGL)-I antibody, neopterin, a product of activated macrophages, and C-reactive protein (CRP), an acute phase protein, in serial serum samples from patients for monitoring the leprosy spectrum and reactions during the course of multi-drug treatment (MDT).

METHODS: Twenty-five untreated leprosy patients, 15 multi-bacillary (MB) and 10 paucibacillary (PB), participated. Eight patients developed reversal reaction and five developed erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL) during follow-up. The bacterial index (BI) in slit-skin smears was determined at diagnosis and blood samples collected by venipuncture at diagnosis and after 2, 4, 6 and 12 months of MDT. PGL-I antibody and neopterin were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, whereas the CRP levels were measured by the latex agglutination method.

RESULTS: The levels of PGL-I antibodies and neopterin were higher in the sera of MB than PB patients, which correlated with the patients' BI. The serum levels of CRP did not differ significantly between the MB and PB patients. The serum levels of PGL-I and neopterin were no higher in reactional patients than non-reactional patients prone to such reactions. However, ENL patients had higher serum CRP levels than non-reactional MB patients. The serum PGL-I antibody levels declined significantly during MDT, in contrast to neopterin and CRP levels.

CONCLUSION: Measuring the serum levels of PGL-I antibodies and neopterin appeared to be useful in distinguishing MB from PB patients, whereas monitoring the levels of PGL-I antibodies appeared to be useful in monitoring MB patients on MDT. Measuring serum CRP, although not useful in monitoring the patients, has limited significance in detecting ENL reactional patients.

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