Leprosy  is  a  chronic  infectious  disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and manifested by an  immunological and  clinical outcome, ranging  from borderline lepromatous and  lepromatous infections  to tuberculoid and  borderline  tuberculoid infections.   Cytokines  such  as interleukin  (IL)-6, IL-10, interferon-γ  (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor-α  are  associated with leprosy.


The  aim  was  to  assess IL-6 and  IFN-γ in untreated patients with leprosy  and compare these levels  with those in healthy  controls  and  with different parts  of the disease spectrum.

Patients and methods

A case–control study was conducted on 90 untreated patients with leprosy  and  30 healthy  controls randomly  selected from patients attending the  Dermatology and Leprosy   Hospital,   Qena  Governorate, Egypt.  The  patients were  classified  into tuberculoid, borderline tuberculoid, borderline-borderline, borderline  lepromatous, and  lepromatous (LL). IFN-γ and  IL-6 were  measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique.


IL-6 and INF-γ were significantly higher in the patients than in the control group, with P value of 0.001 and 0.002,  respectively. Regarding the serum level of INF-γ in all types  of leprosy,  there  was  a  statistically  significantly  increase in paucibacillary leprosy  and a nonsignificant increase in multibacillary leprosy;  on the contrary,  the results showed that serum level of IL-6 was  statistically  significantly increased in multibacillary leprosy  and  nonsignificantly  increased in paucibacillary leprosy. Conclusion

This study concluded that INF-γ and IL-6 may have  a significant role in classifying various forms of leprosy and can be used as leprosy disease markers to predict the course and  the prognosis of the disease.