Multibacillary leprosy patients with high and persistent serum antibodies to leprosy IDRI diagnostic-1/LID-1 : higher susceptibility to develop type 2 reactions.
Leprosy inflammatory episodes [type 1 (T1R) and type 2 (T2R) reactions] represent the major cause of irreversible nerve damage. Leprosy serology is known to be influenced by the patient's bacterial index (BI) with higher positivity in multibacillary patients (MB) and specific multidrug therapy (MDT) reduces antibody production.
This study evaluated by ELISA antibody responses to leprosy Infectious Disease Research Institute diagnostic-1 (LID-1) fusion protein and phenolic glycolipid I (PGL-I) in 100 paired serum samples of 50 MB patients collected in the presence/absence of reactions and in nonreactional patients before/after MDT. Patients who presented T2R had a median BI of 3+, while MB patients with T1R and nonreactional patients had median BI of 2.5+ (p > 0.05). Anti-LID-1 and anti-PGL-I antibodies declined in patients diagnosed during T1R (p < 0.05). Anti-LID-1 levels waned in MB with T2R at diagnosis and nonreactional MB patients (p < 0.05). Higher anti-LID-1 levels were seen in patients with T2R at diagnosis (vs. patients with T1R at diagnosis, p = 0.008; vs. nonreactional patients, p = 0.020) and in patients with T2R during MDT (vs. nonreactional MB, p = 0.020). In MB patients, high and persistent anti-LID-1 antibody levels might be a useful tool for clinicians to predict which patients are more susceptible to develop leprosy T2R.