Reduction inFc receptor expression as assayed by ‘erythrocyte’ rosetting of macrophage cultures from long term treated lepromatous leprosy patients (bactereologically negative) was seen in the presence of viableMycobacterium leprae. Macrophages with and without intracellular bacilli demonstrated this reduction. On the basis of this observation the conditioned medium ofMycobacterium leprae infected macrophage cultures of lepromatous patients, were tested on macrophages from normal individuals for [3H]-leucine incorporation and antigen specific physical interaction with lymphocytes. Both these parameters showed decreased values as compared to the controls which were not exposed to this conditioned medium. Lymphocyte transformation toMycobacterium leprae in leucocyte cultures of normal individuals was also reduced in the presence of the conditioned medium from lepromatous patients’ macrophages. The indication that this factor may be a prostaglandin was suggested by the observation that its synthesis was inhibited by indomethacin. Its importance in the non-specific depression in cell-mediated immunity seen in lepromatous patients is discussed.
Volume 44 | Issue 4
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