A serologic study of naturally acquired leprosy in chimpanzees

B. J. Gormus, K. Xu, P. L. Alford, D. R. Lee, G. B. Hubbard, J. W. Eichberg, W. M. Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Data from longitudinally obtained serum samples spanning several years has permitted us to identify two chimpanzees with leprosy and to estimate the time of Mycobacterium leprae exposure/infection. The results confirm high levels of specific anti-M. leprae phenolic glycolipid-I (PGL-I) as well as anti-lipoarabinomannan (anti-LAM) antibodies in both chimpanzees, and identify additional chimpanzees with possible M. leprae exposure. The observations are consistent with the hypothesis that leprosy exists in chimpanzees in the U.S.A. and suggest the possibility that M. leprae may be transmitted among chimpanzees. The data suggest that monitoring anti-PGL-I and anti-LAM IgG and IgM levels longitudinally in leprosy contacts may be useful in the recognition of preclinical leprosy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-457
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Leprosy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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