Antigen-coated latex particles as a model system for probing monocyte responses in leprosy

Document Type



Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


To study responses to Mycobacterium leprae antigens, we developed an in vitro model system in which latex particles coated with M. leprae sonic extract (MLSON) antigen were presented to monocytes. Uptake and oxidative response as measured by superoxide production to these antigens were investigated. Phagocytosis of MLSON-coated particles was greater than that of control particles in monocytes from both leprosy patients and controls from leprosy-endemic areas; uptake of MLSON-coated particles was higher in monocytes from lepromatous leprosy patients than in cells from tuberculoid leprosy patients and controls. In both patients and controls, uptake of latex particles coated with leprosy antigens triggered very little reduction of nitroblue tetrazolium although the cells were capable of mounting a respiratory burst. Antigen-coated latex particles can therefore be used as a tool to investigate monocyte responses to M. leprae and individual recombinant antigens.


Infection and Immunity