Immunodiffusion analysis of Mycobacterium lepraernurium indicated the presence of at least six antigens. Comparative analysis of the M. lepraemuriurn antigen-antibody system with similar systems established for other mycobacterial species, showed that M. lepraemurium shared up to two antigens with other species.

Although our observations are in accord with some of the studies on the antigenic mosaic of M. lepraemurium, they are in disagreement with the observations of Stanford (1973) concerning a close serological relationship of this organism to M. avium. This incompatibility cannot be explained satisfactorily at present.

We wish to thank Dr B. S. Tepper of the Johns Hopkins-Leonard Wood Memorial Leprosy Research Laboratory, Baltimore, Maryland, for supplying M. lepraemurium, Dr R. Merkal of the National Animal Diseases Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture, Ames, Iowa, for supplying the M. ohnei and Dr L. Levy of the United States Public Health Service Hospital, San Francisco, for the other mycobacterial strains used in this study. Our thanks are also due to the US-Japan Tuberculosis Panel's Antigen Committee for supplying the M. tuberculosis (H37Rv) reference system.

This investigation was supported by the United States-Japan Cooperative Medical Sciences Program administered by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, Education and Welfare (grant no. AI-0864-7), Bethesda, Maryland 20014, USA.


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