High levels of zinc (Zn) as a protective factor and negatively correlated with IgM anti-PGL-1 levels in household contact with multibacillary leprosy patients
Background: Phenolic glycolipid-1 (PGL-1), a specific glycolipid for M. leprae. Close contacts may develop subclinical leprosy with no symptoms but with M. leprae in their blood. The PGL-1 antibody serology test can be used to detect M. leprae infection in the body before clinical manifestation. The higher the anti-PGL-1 IgM level, the higher rate of M. leprae infection. Zinc is said to help in the prevention of M. leprosy infection. This study aimed to determine the correlation between zinc (Zn) serum levels and anti-PGL-1 IgM levels in household contacts of multibacillary type leprosy patients.
Methods: This study is a cross-sectional study involving 48 leprosy subjects, consisting of 33 multibacillary leprosy household contact participants and 15 non-contact leprosy participants. The subjects with an age range of 18-65 years were selected consecutively. Zinc and anti-PGL-1 IgM levels were derived from venous blood examined with ELISA.
Results: This study showed the mean serum zinc level of the contact groups of 60.88 ± 15.92 μg/dl, and the non-contact group of 90.00 ± 7.61 μg / dl (p <0.001; CI 95%: 20.38 - 37.85). The median (interquartile range) serum levels of anti-PGL-1 IgM in the contact groups was 613.00 (40 - 1433) u/ml and the non-contact groups was 99.00 (14 - 695) u/ml (p = 0.001; 95% CI: 154.162 – 610.116). The correlation analysis between serum zinc levels and anti-PGL-1 IgM serum levels showed a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.644 with p <0.05. A high serum zinc level is a protective factor against high anti-PGL-1 IgM levels in a household contact with leprosy (PR: 0.47; 95% CI: 0.20-1.09).
Conclusion: This study highlighted lower serum zinc levels in people with household contacts of leprosy than the non-contact individuals. Zinc levels have a negative correlation with anti-PGL-1 IgM levels in subjects with household contact with multibacillary type leprosy. A high serum zinc level is a protective factor against high anti-PGL-1 IgM levels.
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