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Br J Exp Pathol. 1980 Aug;61(4):376-9.

Effect of purification steps on the immunogenicity of Mycobacterium leprae.


In studies aimed at the development of an antileprosy vaccine for use in man, Mycobacterium leprae suspensions were prepared from livers of experimentally infected armadillos. The 2 methods of purification in chief use, carried out after irradiation of the tissue with 2.5 megarads of gamma irradiation from 60Co, involved treatment with 0.1N NaOH for 2 h at room temperature, trypsin and chymotrypsin digestion for 24h at 37 degrees, and separation in a 2-phase liquid polymer (dextran:polyethylene glycol) system. All vaccines were autoclaved and injected intradermally in mice. Earlier studies have shown that heat inactivation does not interfere with the immunogenicity of M. leprae. Immunogenicity was measured by foot-pad enlargement (FPE) after challenge with heat-killed M. leprae suspensions or by protection against infectious foot-pad challenge. The results indicated that the irradiation and 2-phase separation did not decrease immunogenicity but the NaOH treatment and enzyme digestion did.

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