Increased incidence of cytoplasmic ANCA (cANCA) and other autoantibodies in leprosy patients from western India.
The prevalence of various autoantibodies was studied in 75 leprosy patients comprising eight patients with lepromatous leprosy (LL), 36 patients with borderline lepromatous leprosy (BL) and 31 patients with borderline tuberculoid leprosy (BT), along with 100 normal controls. Certain autoantibodies such as anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA), anti-single stranded DNA (anti-ssDNA) and anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) were raised among leprosy patients. When ANCA specificities to anti-myeloperoxidase (anti-MPO), anti-proteinase3 (anti-PR3) and anti-lactoferrin (anti-LF) were studied, it was found that the patterns of immunofluorescence such as perinuclear (p-ANCA), cytoplasmic (c-ANCA) and atypical (X-ANCA) and specificity by ELISA to anti-MPO, anti-PR3 and anti-LF varied in the LL, BL and BT groups. However, a higher amount of c-ANCA was observed in 62.5% of leprosy cases, while the incidences of p-ANCA and X-ANCA were lower. The LL group showed a higher incidence of autoantibodies as compared with the BL and BT groups, along with a male preponderance for autoantibody development. Some unusual antibody profiles such as 'X'-ANCA were also observed. The study suggests that autoantibody formation could be quite prevalent and also variable in the spectrum of leprosy cases, and there seems to be a serological overlap among leprosy and autoimmune disease, which could have pathogenetic importance in the leprosy patients developing complications.