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Molecular determination of Mycobacterium leprae viability: a comparison with other methodological approaches


The access to information about leprosy, its diagnosis and treatment with multidrugtherapy (MDT) are considered key elements of the strategy for its control. Result of infection by Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae), leprosy is a chronic disease affecting skin and nerves, and the impossibility of cultivating M. leprae in axenic culture medium, has hampered in vitro studies and the development of clinical trials prove to be complicated due to the slow progression of the bacillus. Thus, a sensitive and specific method for detecting the viability of M. leprae add a fair criterion to the means already available, allowing even the diagnosis in the earlier stages of disease. The present study aims to assessing the viability of bacilli through the detection of 16S rRNA specific for M. leprae with the normalization of the total quantities of mycobacteria from the quantification of total DNA of M. leprae. The initial assessment will focus on therapeutic efficacy of the scheme used for analyzing the viability of bacilli in clinical samples during periods of 0 to 12 months of MDT. In parallel, there will be a comparative analysis between the production of antigens of M. leprae in monocytic cell line and detection of 16S rRNA. As standard, we are going to utilize inoculation into the footpads of mice. Moreover, it is expected that in addition to monitoring the effectiveness of treatment, new possibilities for studies on parasite-host interaction might be addressed. (AU)

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