Leprosy is an infectious disease that affects the skin and peripheral nerves where macrophages and Schwann cells are the main cell involved. There are several manifestations of the disease according to the individual immunological profile against Mycobacterium leprae. Dendritic cells (DCs) are important in immunity, since they trigger the immune responses against various pathogens; these cells are the main antigen-presenting cells and promote the activation of T cells. Considering that components of the bacillus may modulate the action of immune cells, this project aims to investigate in vitro the differentiation and maturation of monocyte-derived DCs from healthy individuals and patients with polar forms of leprosy after stimulus with antigenic fractions from cell wall, membrane and cytosol of M. leprae. Markers of differentiation and activation will be evaluated, as well as the expression of costimulatory molecules. Thus, we intend to add new elements to better understanding of the complex host-parasite relationship that takes place in leprosy.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: