Expression of a common idiotype PR4 in the sera of patients with leprosy

Clin Exp Immunol. 1991 Jun;84(3):522-6.


The sera of 187 patients from across the leprosy spectrum were screened for the expression of the PR4 idiotype, which was first identified on a human hybridoma-derived monoclonal antibody from a patient with leprosy and found to react with the Mycobacterium leprae phenolic glycolipid and a variety of polynucleotides. Sixty per cent (51 out of 85) of patients with lepromatous leprosy (LL), 66% (33 out of 49) with borderline lepromatous (BL) disease, 47% (14 out of 30) with borderline tuberculoid (BT) leprosy, and 56% (13 out of 23) of tuberculoid (TT) patients were found to have significantly elevated titres of the PR4 idiotype in their sera compared with endemic controls, irrespective of the presence or absence of endemic malaria. Sera from 52 patients with tuberculosis were also screened as a control for mycobacterial infection. The PR4 idiotype was significantly elevated in 37% (19 out of 52) of these patients. No correlation between idiotype and serum immunoglobulins IgG and IgM was found, indicating that the concentrations of idiotype levels in sera were not merely a reflection of changes in serum immunoglobulin levels. It is hypothesized that the expression of the PR4 idiotype is due to certain germline genes preferentially expressed rather than being the result of polyclonal B cell activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin Idiotypes / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Leprosy / immunology*
  • Rabbits
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin Idiotypes
  • Immunoglobulin M