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Scand J Immunol. 1991 Jul;34(1):23-31.

T-cell responses to fractionated antigens of Mycobacterium w, a candidate anti-leprosy vaccine, in leprosy patients.

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Microbiology Division, National Institute of Immunology, Shaheed Jeet Singh Marg, New Delhi, India.


Mycobacterium w, an atypical cultivable mycobacterium, is undergoing phase III clinical trials as a vaccine against leprosy in India. It has brought about lepromin conversion and histopathological upgradation in a significant number of patients studied so far. It is important to identify antigens of M. w that trigger T-cell responses in leprosy patients vaccinated with this organism. In the present study the peripheral T-cell repertoire of 12 M. w-vaccinated leprosy patients, 10 unimmunized leprosy patients, 8 tuberculoid and 5 healthy contacts was analysed with fractionated antigens of M. w. The lepromatous leprosy patients who are in general anergic to antigens of M. leprae did not respond to antigens of M. w. However, peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from leprosy patients who had been vaccinated with M. w responded to many antigens. These responses were frequently directed against low molecular weight entities of 14-45 kDa. T cells from tuberculoid leprosy patients and healthy contacts also responded predominantly to a number of low molecular weight antigens of M. w. The study also identified an immunodominant 28-31 kDa antigenic fraction carrying T- as well as B-cell activating determinants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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