Immunological biomarkers of subclinical infection in household contacts of leprosy patients.


Escola de Enfermagem, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


Hansen's disease (or leprosy) still persists as a serious public health issue. Its diagnosis is based primarily on the detection of clinical signs that are characteristic of the disease. Studies have pointed to the selection of a set of serological and cellular biomarkers of subclinical infection that result in an efficient diagnosis. The aim of this study was compare index cases and their household contacts to identify differentially expressed biomarkers of immune response in leprosy that could provide reliable evidence of subclinical infection in household contacts. The study population consisted of index cases with multibacillary form (IC, n = 13) and their household contacts (HC, n = 14). Serum cytokines and chemokines were quantified using the cytometric beads array (CBA) system. The humoral response was assessed by ELISA test. Flow cytometry was used to characterize the cellular immune response. Monocyte and CD4 + T lymphocytes frequency was significantly higher in IC. Both CD4+ and CD8 + T lymphocytes had a reduced CD25 expression in HC. The immunoglobulin (Ig)M profile anti- NDO-HSA, LID-1, and NDOLID antigens was significantly higher in IC. This study points to the monocyte and CD4+ lymphocyte frequency, as well as specific IgM profile, as predictors of subclinical infection in the household contacts.


Biomarkers,Hansen’s disease,Household contact,Immunological,Leprosy,Subclinical infection,