Volume 74, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Tissue expression of cyclooxygenase (COX)2, an inducible enzyme synthesizing eicosanoids in inflammation, was studied in reversal reaction (RR) leprosy in comparison with nonreactionary leprosy. COX2 was consistently expressed in cells of the mononuclear-macrophage lineage across the leprosy spectrum. Only in RR, the following two additional sites showed COX2 expression in the dermis and subcutis: 1) microvessels and 2) nerve bundles and isolated nerve fibers. The same sites also express vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This is in keeping with experimental models relating VEGF to COX2 expression, with VEGF enhancing prostaglandin production through COX2 stimulation and prostaglandin synthase expression. We postulate that selective COX2 inhibitors, which are currently used in several inflammatory conditions, could be considered for RR treatment to reduce acute symptoms caused by tissue edema and possibly prevent long-term nerve damage, the main complication of RR.


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  • Received : 14 Nov 2005
  • Accepted : 19 Feb 2006
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