Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Mycobacteriol. 2017 Jan-Mar;6(1):1-8. doi: 10.4103/2212-5531.201885.

Analysis of a novel multiplex polymerase chain reaction assay as a sensitive tool for the diagnosis of indeterminate and tuberculoid forms of leprosy.

Author information

Division of Molecular Biology and Immunology, Schieffelin Institute of Health Research and Leprosy Centre, Karigiri, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.
Department of Biology, Regents Hall of Natural Science, Northfield, MN 55057, USA.



Clinical diagnosis of indeterminate and tuberculoid leprosy is often difficult due to limited and confounding signs and symptoms. In the current study, we evaluated the utility of new multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using Mycobacterium leprae-specific DNA sequences in the pseudogene regions of ML1545, ML2180, and ML2179 for PCR-based diagnosis of indeterminate leprosy (IND) and leprosy cases across the immunological spectrum. The sensitivity was compared with that of RLEP PCR.


DNA was extracted from paraffin-embedded skin biopsy specimens of 220 leprosy cases, which were divided into IND (41), tuberculoid form (3), borderline tuberculoid (42), midborderline (3), borderline lepromatous (n=59), and lepromatous leprosy (72) cases. PCR positivity of both multiplex and RLEP PCR were compared in all the samples. A decision tree was constructed using the classification and regression trees algorithm to predict the probability of PCR positivity with the new multiplex PCR scheme in various clinical groups of leprosy. Sensitivity of each pseudogene target was determined using real-time PCR assays, and specificity was confirmed by PCR amplification of DNA extracted from three other mycobacterial species and skin biopsies of 44 non-leprosy cases.


A multiplex PCR positivity of 75.61% was noted in IND cases when compared to that of 58.54% using RLEP PCR (P < 0.05). Enhanced multiplex PCR positivity was noted across various clinical groups in comparison to RLEP PCR. The decision tree classifier has predicted statistically significant probability for multiplex PCR positivity among RLEP-PCR negative group and clinical groups with a low bacillary load.


This new multiplex PCR scheme can support the diagnosis of indeterminate and tuberculoid forms of leprosy with limited clinical manifestations and can be implemented in basic clinical/diagnostic setting that possess conventional PCR facilities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Medknow Publications and Media Pvt Ltd
Loading ...
Support Center