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Molecular, immunological and neurophysiological evaluations for early diagnosis of neural impairment in seropositive leprosy household contacts.

Santos, Diogo Fernandes Dos; Mendonça, Matheus Rocha; Antunes, Douglas Eulálio; Sabino, Elaine Fávaro Pípi; Pereira, Raquel Campos; Goulart, Luiz Ricardo; Goulart, Isabela Maria Bernardes.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis; 12(5): e0006494, 2018 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29782495

BACKGROUND:

Household contacts constitute the highest risk group for leprosy development, and despite significant progress in the disease control, early diagnosis remains the primary goals for leprosy management programs.

METHODS:

We have recruited 175 seropositive and 35 seronegative household contacts from 2014 to 2016, who were subjected to an extensive protocol that included clinical, molecular (peripheral blood qPCR, slit-skin smear qPCR, skin biopsy qPCR) and electroneuromyographic evaluations.

RESULTS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

The positivity of peripheral blood qPCR of seropositive contacts was 40.6% (71/175) whereas only 8.6% (3/35) were qPCR positive in seronegative contacts (p = 0.0003). For the slit-skin smear, only 4% (7/175) of seropositive contacts presented positive bacilloscopy, whereas the qPCR detected 47.4% (83/175) positivity in this group compared with only 17.1% (6/35) in seronegative contacts (p = 0.0009). In the ENMG evaluation of contacts, 31.4% (55/175) of seropositives presented some neural impairment, and 13.3% (4/35) in seronegatives (p = 0.0163). The presence of neural thickening conferred a 2.94-fold higher chance of ENMG abnormality (p = 0.0031). Seropositive contacts presented a 4.04-fold higher chance of neural impairment (p = 0.0206). The peripheral blood qPCR positivity presented odds 2.08-fold higher towards neural impairment (OR, 2.08; p = 0.028). Contrarily, the presence of at least one BCG vaccine scar demonstrated 2.44-fold greater protection against neural impairment (OR = 0.41; p = 0.044).

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

ELISA anti-PGL-I is the most important test in determining the increased chance of neural impairment in asymptomatic leprosy household contacts. The combination of the two assays (ELISA anti-PGL-I and peripheral blood qPCR) and the presence of BCG scar may identify individuals with higher chances of developing leprosy neuropathy, corroborating with the early diagnosis and treatment.
Selo DaSilva