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Infect Immun. 1990 Mar;58(3):711-8.

Effective vaccination of mice against leprosy bacilli with subunits of Mycobacterium leprae.

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Kuzell Institute for Arthritis and Infectious Diseases, San Francisco, California 94115.


Model vaccines against leprosy bacilli have consisted of nonvirulent, live, attenuated Mycobacterium bovis BCG and irradiated, heat-killed, or autoclaved intact M. leprae. We report that immunization with various cell wall fractions of M. leprae, progressively depleted of lipids, carbohydrates, and soluble proteins, as well as a partially purified protein(s) derived from a pellet fraction of sonicated M. leprae, conferred significant protection against subsequent infection with live leprosy bacilli. Moreover, lymphocytes from regional lymph nodes and spleens of mice immunized with these M. leprae-derived subunits responded by proliferation when stimulated with M. leprae in vitro. Our results provide the first evidence that vaccination with M. leprae-derived fractions protects mice against leprosy bacilli.

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