Leprosy or Hansen’s disease (HD) is a chronic infectious disease caused by
Mycobacterium leprae. The ratio of malondialdehyde (MDA)/superoxide dismutase
(SOD) may be considered as an index of oxidative stress (OS).
To assess the OS by estimating the levels of antioxidant enzyme (SOD), lipid
peroxidation products (MDA) and the ratio of MDA/SOD in the skin of paucibacillary
(PB) and multibacillary (MB) leprosy patients.
Patients and methods
This case-control study was conducted on 41 untreated leprosy patients (18 patients
with PB type and 23 patients with MB type) attending Sohag’s Dermatology and
Leprosy Clinic, in addition to 18 healthy controls. Colorimetric assays of MDA and
SOD levels in the tissue homogenates of the skin biopsies taken from the patient
and control groups were performed.
There were statistically significantly higher levels of tissue MDA and statistically
significantly lower levels of tissue SOD in leprosy patients when compared with the
control group (P o 0.001) and in MB leprosy patients when compared with PB leprosy
patients (P o 0.001). There was statistically significantly higher tissue OS in leprosy
patients when compared with the control group (P o 0.01) and in MB leprosy patients
when compared with PB leprosy patients (P o 0.001). There were significant negative
correlations between SOD with both MDA and OS with a significant positive
correlation between MDA and OS in both patients versus controls and in MB leprosy
versus PB leprosy patients (P o 0.01 for all).
OS may play an important role in the pathogenesis of leprosy. The imbalance between
oxidant/antioxidant mechanisms may be the contributing factor in the severity of the