Research Article

Antigenic heterogeneity in patients with reactions in borderline leprosy.

Br Med J 1975; 4 doi: (Published 22 November 1975) Cite this as: Br Med J 1975;4:435
  1. R S Barnetson,
  2. G Bjune,
  3. J M Pearson,
  4. G Kronvall


    Fifteen patients with borderline leprosy who developed "reversal" reactions were studied from the inception of treatment. Thirteen showed an appreciable increase in lymphocyte transformation (LT) when preparations of Mycobacterium leprae were used as antigen. The LT responses to either "whole" or "sonicated" preparations of the bacillus in these 15 patients and in nine others also in reaction correlated with the clinical presentation. Those with skin disease predominating in the reaction showed an appreciable increase in LT when whole M leprae was used as antigen. Those with nerve disease predominating showed an increase with sonicated M leprae. In those with both skin and nerve disease there was an increase with both antigen preparations. The ratios of the LT test results (whole to sonicated M leprae) showed highly significant differences between the three groups.