A study carried out by researchers at Lepra’s Blue Peter Public Health and Research centre, Hyderabad has revealed that a mutation in TAP1 gene, a gene regulating immune response, is associated with leprosy in Indians.

The findings were published in the June issue of Human Immunology. Authors noted:

Our results provide genetic evidence that polymorphism in the TAP1 gene influences susceptibility to leprosy in Indian population.

This is a significant step forward in what is known about why some people develop leprosy and some do not.

According to Dr Vijaya Lackshmi Valluri, leader at our Immunology and Molecular Division at Blue Peter our immune systems respond each time a foreign bacteria enters our system.

In some people this immune response is compromised where binding of the bacterial peptide used in the elimination the cells harbouring the M.leprae bacteria (involving the TAP1) is not proper.

Institutions involved in the research include: Lepra, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tubingen, German Department of Zoology, School of Life Sciences at Bharathiar University, Coimatore and National Institute of Pathology (Delhi)