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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X


MENDONCA, V.A. et al. Expression of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 on lymphocytes of leprosy patients. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2011, vol.44, n.12, pp.1256-1260.  Epub Oct 13, 2011 ISSN 1414-431X.

Leprosy is caused by Mycobacterium leprae, which induces chronic granulomatous infection of the skin and peripheral nerves. The disease ranges from the tuberculoid to the lepromatous forms, depending on the cellular immune response of the host. Chemokines are thought to be involved in the immunopathogenesis of leprosy, but few studies have investigated the expression of chemokine receptors on leukocytes of leprosy patients. In the present study, we evaluated 21 leprosy patients (M/F: 16/5) with a new diagnosis from the Dermatology Outpatient Clinic of the University Hospital, Federal University of Minas Gerais. The control group was composed of 20 healthy members (M/F: 15/5) of the community recruited by means of announcements. The expression of CCR2, CCR3, CCR5, and CXCR4 was investigated by flow cytometry on the surface of peripheral blood lymphocytes. There was a decrease in percentage of CD3+CXCR4+ and CD4+CXCR4+ lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of leprosy patients (median [range], 17.6 [2.7-41.9] and 65.3 [3.9-91.9], respectively) compared to the control group (median [range], 43.0 [3.7-61.3] and 77.2 [43.6-93.5], respectively). The percentage of CD4+CXCR4+ was significantly lower in patients with the tuberculoid form (median [range], 45.7 [0.0-83.1]) of the disease, but not in lepromatous patients (median [range], 81.5 [44.9-91.9]). The CXCR4 chemokine receptor may play a role in leprosy immunopathogenesis, probably directing cell migration to tissue lesions in tuberculoid leprosy patients.

Keywords : Leprosy; Chemokine receptors; CXCR4; Leukocytes.

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