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The Functional State of the Complement System in Leprosy

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  • 1 Laboratório de Biologia do Reconhecer, Centro de Biociências e Biotecnologia, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense–Darcy Ribeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Hospital Municipal Ferreira Machado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Ninety-one patients with different clinical forms of leprosy, 36 lepromatous (LL), 33 tuberculoid (TL), and 22 dimorphic (DL), and 31 healthy volunteer donors were included in this study. Total complement system (CS) activity was assessed by hemolytic methods, whereas individual components were quantified by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Under conditions allowing initiation of cascade by the classic pathway (CP) but not alternative pathway (AP) activation, significant CS consumption was detected only in sera from patients with LL. In this group of patients, C4 but not factor B (fB) or C3 was significantly reduced, whereas mannose-binding lectin (MBL) serum levels were significantly higher. These results indicate that the CP is involved in CS activation in patients infected with Mycobacterium leprae manifesting LL clinical form of leprosy. An association is likely between circulating immune complexes and MBL high serum levels for initiation of CS activation in patients with LL form of leprosy.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Thereza L. Kipnis, Laboratório de Biologia do Reconhecer, Centro de Biociências e Biotecnologia, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense–Darcy Ribeiro, Av. Alberto Lame go, 2000 Parque Califórnia, CEP:28015-620, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil, Telephone: 5522-2726-1591, Fax: 5522-2726-1591.
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