Macrophages cultured from the peripheral blood of normal individuals, tuberculoid leprosy patients and long-term-treated, bacteriologically negative lepromatous leprosy patients are able to release hydrogen peroxide on stimulation withMycobacterium leprae. Macrophages from lepromatous leprosy patients who are bacteriologically positive produce considerably lower levels of hydrogen peroxide, even though stimulation of these cells withMycobacterium leprae is definitely demonstrable. This differential stimulation of macrophages appears to be largely specific toMycobacterium leprae. There is also a good indication that decreased stimulation of macrophages from positive patients could be due to an after-effect of infection. It is possible that while other factors aid survival ofMycobacterium leprae in the macrophages, hydrogen peroxide may not be as effective in the killing of the bacteria in infected patients as it would be, perhaps, in other infections.
Volume 44 | Issue 4
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