DNA-PCR and reverse transcription (RT)-PCR for the 18-kDa protein of were used to examine the efficacy of multi-drug therapy (MDT) in leprosy. MDT was administered for 0–24 months. Fourteen (63.6%) of 22 patients showed positive PCR results after treatment for 12 months and the positive results decreased to 30% after 24 months of MDT. These results did not correlate with the bacterial index (BI) or the IgM antibody titre for the phenolic glycolipid (PGL)-1. One-dimensional densitometric analysis of agarose gels from PCR from the longitudinal study showed a gradual reduction of the 360-bp band after 12–24 months of MDT. RT-PCR for mRNA of the 18-kDa protein successfully tracked bacterial RNA changes in the biopsies and confirmed a decrease in the RNA of in patients after MDT for 12 months. Thus, DNA- and RT-PCR for the 18-kDa protein of are effective in assessing the efficacy of MDT for leprosy.


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