Skin biopsies from patients with leprosy across the spectrum from tuberculoid (TT) to lepromatous (LL), including histoid lepromas and erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL) reactions, were stained immunohistochemically for the presence of C-reactive protein (CRP) and the apolipoprotein, apoB. Mycobacterium leprae bacillary material comprising cell walls, cytoplasmic and soluble components was present with increasing abundance towards the lepromatous end of the spectrum and always stained positively with anti-CRP. M. leprae from armadillos did not stain with anti-human CRP indicating that the staining of M. leprae in human tissues was not due to a cross-reaction between anti-CRP and the organism itself. When CRP was present in large amounts apoB was also demonstrated in the same distribution. CRP was detected on bacilli and their degradation products within the cytoplasm of macrophages even in the absence of a raised serum CRP level in some ENL patients and also in two cases of advanced resolving lepromas. These findings demonstrate remarkable persistence of CRP in association with M. leprae in vivo, and raise intriguing questions about the possible role of CRP in relation to the handling of leprosy bacilli.
|Number of pages
|Clinical and Experimental Immunology
|Published - 1984
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy