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Experimental Leprosy in African Green Monkeys (Cercopithecus Aethiops): A Model for Polyneuritic Leprosy

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  • 1 *Delta Regional Primate Research Center, Tulane University, Covington, Louisiana 70433
  • 2 †School of Medicine, Louisiana State University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
  • 3 ‡Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC 20306

Three African green monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) were inoculated intravenously and intracutaneously with Mycobacterium leprae derived from a naturally infected mangabey monkey. All developed cutaneous lesions at inoculation sites. One developed disseminated cutaneous lesions, while the cutaneous lesions in the other two regressed and eventually disappeared. The animals were examined at necropsy five years after inoculation. All three had active leprosy infection in peripheral nerves with extensive inflammation and fibrosis. The disease histologically resembled borderline-lepromatous leprosy. These findings add a new dimension to animal models of leprosy.

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