Leprosy pp 27-38 | Cite as

Host Response to M. leprae

  • Rodrigo Ribeiro-Rodrigues


Leprosy, caused by Mycobacterium leprae, is associated with damaging inflammatory lesions in the skin and peripheral nerves. Leprosy’s hallmark is a broad clinical spectrum of pathology determined by the host immune response. Whereas vigorous cell-mediated immune response leads to the tuberculoid form, specific cellular unresponsiveness to M. leprae antigens leads to lepromatous leprosy. A variety of mechanisms of innate and adaptive immunity have been identified and postulated to play a role in the development of cellular immunity in leprosy. Additionally, host genetic background and the presence of intestinal helminths have been associated with susceptibility to M. leprae infection and its severity in humans. However, what triggers this remarkable spectrum of cellular immune responses to this organism in humans, and how, is still not fully understood.


Natural Killer Cell Reactive Oxygen Intermediate Leprosy Patient Intestinal Helminth Lepromatous Lepromatous 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Núcleo de Doenças Infecciosas and Departamento de PatologiaUniversidade Federal do Espirito SantoVitoriaBrazil

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