Solubilization of preformed immune complexes in sera of patients with type 1 and type 2 lepra reactions.
Serum complement activity in leprosy patients has been studied using solubilization of preformed immune complexes as an index. The solubilization capacity of sera from lepromatous patients with or without erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL) as well as from type 1 reactional patients was found markedly reduced as compared to controls. Solubilization did not improve at all in the ENL patients after remission of the reaction phase. The addition of fresh normal sera failed to bring about any significant restoration of solubilizing capacity of the deficient sera. Mycobacterium leprae sonicate significantly reduced the solubilization capacity. Our results suggest that circulating mycobacterial breakdown products possibly interfered with the capacity of the ENL patients' sera to solubilize immune complexes.