Detection of high titres of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in sera of patients with leprosy in Pakistan

Document Type



Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Untreated and treated leprosy patients and their household contacts were screened for antibody to Toxoplasma gondii using antigen-coated latex particles. A significantly high level of seroprevalence (29.6%) was observed in the untreated leprosy patients compared to endemic controls (P < 0.01) with a mean reciprocal antibody titre of 20,007 +/- 3580 (n = 98) in seropositive patients. In treated patients seroprevalence dropped to 13.5%. Seroprevalence in a group of household contacts of leprosy patients was similar to that of control subjects from an endemic area but not exposed to leprosy (7.8% and 6.1% respectively), indicating that the increased seroprevalence in leprosy patients was not merely due to increased exposure related to socioeconomic factors. Antigenic cross-reactivity between T. gondii and Mycobacterium leprae antigens was ruled out by cross inhibition experiments carried out with soluble antigens from each of the organisms. We believe these antibodies may be induced by an increase in T. gondii load in leprosy due to a transient reactivation of latent T. gondii infections, as the antibodies in these leprosy patients were not associated with any sign of eye or lymphatic pathology related to toxoplasmosis.


Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene