Elevated Free Tear Lactoferrin Levels in Leprosy are Associated with Type 2 Reactions

Ebenezer Daniel, Muruganand Duriasamy, Gigi J. Ebenezer, J. Shobhana, Charles K. Job

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the association of demographics, leprosy and ocular characteristics with altered levels of lactoferrin in the tears of normal subjects and leprosy patients, and to detect the presence of antibodies to lactoferrin in these tear samples. Method: We collected light-stimulated tears from 298 leprosy patients and an equal number of normal subjects using the glass capillary method. Free lactoferrin levels were estimated using ELISA and the presence of antibodies to lactoferrin was detected using the immuno-blotting method. Significant associations were looked for between tear lactoferrin levels and demographic characteristics, leprosy characteristics such as type of disease, duration of disease, reactions, deformity and bacterial load, and ocular complications, using chi-square and regression analysis. Results: Tear lactoferrin levels with a mean (SD) of 2.55 (2.83)mg/ml in the control group were significantly different (P < 0.000) from leprosy patients with a smean (SD) of 5.66 (7.21)mg/ml. Age showed an inverse correlation with tear lactoferrin levels in controls. Increased bacterial load, grade 2 leg deformity and Type 2 reactions were significantly associated (P < 0.05) with increased tear lactoferrin levels. Type 2 reactions remained significantly associated (P=0.01) on multiple regression analysis. Tear lactoferrin levels were not associated with gender, serum lactoferrin levels, Type 1 reactions, face patches, treatment status, orbicularis oculi weakness, lagophthalmos, ectropion, entropion, corneal opacity, cataract and iridocyclitis. Conclusion: Age is inversely related to tear lactoferrin levels in normal subjects. Free lactoferrin levels in tears are significantly higher in leprosy patients compared with normal controls. Type 2 reactions in leprosy are significantly associated with elevated tear lactoferrin levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
JournalIndian Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibodies to tear lactoferrin
  • Leprosy
  • Tear lactoferrin levels
  • Type 2 reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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