Cutaneous lesions sensory impairment recovery and nerve regeneration in leprosy patients.
It is important to understand the mechanisms that enable peripheral neurons to regenerate after nerve injury in order to identify methods of improving this regeneration. Therefore, we studied nerve regeneration and sensory impairment recovery in the cutaneous lesions of leprosy patients (LPs) before and after treatment with multidrug therapy (MDT). The skin lesion sensory test results were compared to the histopathological and immunohistochemical protein gene product (PGP) 9.5 and the p75 nerve growth factor receptors (NGFr) findings. The cutaneous neural occupation ratio (CNOR) was evaluated for both neural markers. Thermal and pain sensations were the most frequently affected functions at the first visit and the most frequently recovered functions after MDT. The presence of a high cutaneous nerve damage index did not prevent the recovery of any type of sensory function. The CNOR was calculated for each biopsy, according to the presence of PGP and NGFr-immunostained fibres and it was not significantly different before or after the MDT. We observed a variable influence of MDT in the recovery from sensory impairment in the cutaneous lesions of LPs. Nociception and cold thermosensation were the most recovered sensations. The recovery of sensation in the skin lesions appeared to be associated with subsiding inflammation rather than with the regenerative activity of nerve fibres.