Infection of armadillos with Mycobacterium leprae. Ultrastructural studies of peripheral nerve.Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1976 Apr; 100(4):175-81.AP
Peripheral nerves of armadillos were studied 16 to 30 months after intradermal or intravenous inoculation with Mycobacterium leprae. Numerous bacilli were found within macrophages, Schwann cells, and perineurial cells; endothelial cells, pericytes and fibroblasts were involved as well. The bacilli were characteristically contained in membrane-limited vacuoles that were interpreted as being phagosomes. Some of the phagosomes contained granular, membranous, and vesicular debris considered to be bacillary degradation products, suggesting that lysosomal activity was present within the phagosomes. Multivesicular bodies, a few of which contained bacilli, were abundant in macrophages and perineurial cells. An unusual proliferation of irregular tubulovesicular profiles was noted, especially in Schwann and perineurial cell cytoplasm, surrounding and within phagosomes containing bacilli. The pattern of cellular involvement of neural structures with M leprae was similar to that observed in lepromatous leprous neuritis in humans.