Analyze cytokine production in household contacts of leprosy, paucibacillary (CPB) and multibacillary (CMB) after one year of follow-up. Eighty-three individuals attended the second evaluation. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of the subjects were stimulated with Mycobacteriu leprae, PHA and cytokines were assessed by ELISA and Cytometry. The results showed significant correlation between TNF-α and age of the
CMB in unstimulated PBMC culture. Grouping these individuals is ≤ 20 and ≥ 21 years it was observed that ≥ 21 years had higher levels of TNF-α. It was found higher levels of IL-10 in female CPB ≤ 20 years in cultures stimulated with M. leprae. CMB showed a higher frequency of TCD8+IL-10+ cells stimulated in culture with M. leprae when compared with CPB. It was found that CMB whose index case had a treatment time ≤ 2 years,
showed a higher frequency of TCD8+IL-10+ cells stimulated in culture with M. leprae when compared with CPB. It was found that female’s ≥ 21 years of CMB showed a higher frequency of TCD4+IL-4+ cells in culture without stimulation than female ≤ 20 years. In conclusion, CMB displays a modulatory response with increased IL-10; in contrast, CPB shows a pro-inflammatory response with high levels of IFN-γ and TNF- α.
Key words: Leprosy, Household contacts and Cytokines