A Recessive Major Gene Controls the Mitsuda Reaction in a Region Endemic for Leprosy

Ranque, Brigitte; Alcaïs, Alexandre; van Thuc, Nguyen; Woynard, Sébastien; Vu Hong Thai; Nguyen Thu Huong; Nguyen Ngoc Ba; Pham Xuan Khoa; Erwin Schurr; Abel, Laurent
October 2005
Journal of Infectious Diseases;10/15/2005, Vol. 192 Issue 8, p1475
Academic Journal
Background. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. The Mitsuda reaction is a delayed granulomatous skin reaction elicited by intradermal injection of heat-killed M. leprae. Interestingly, results of the Mitsuda test are positive in the majority of individuals, even in areas not endemic for M. leprae. Like leprosy, the Mitsuda reaction is thought to be genetically controlled, but its mode of inheritance is unknown, although the role of the NRAMP1 gene has previously been reported. Methods. We conducted a segregation analysis of quantitative Mitsuda reactivity in 168 Vietnamese nuclear families ascertained through patients with leprosy. Results. We found strong evidence (P< 10-9) for a major gene controlling the Mitsuda reaction independently of leprosy clinical status. Subsequent linkage analysis showed that this major gene was distinct from NRAMP1. Under the major-gene model, ∼12% of individuals are homozygous for the recessive predisposing allele and are predicted to display high levels of Mitsuda reactivity (mean, ∼10 mm, versus 5 mm in other individuals). Conclusion. We provide evidence that the Mitsuda reaction is controlled by a major gene. Our study paves the way for the identification of this gene and should provide novel insight into the mechanisms involved in granuloma formation, especially in M. leprae infection.


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