Mycobacterium leprae Survival Inside Acanthamoeba sp. Isolated from Water Source in Leprosy Endemic Area, Indonesia

Mycobacterium leprae Survival Inside Acanthamoeba sp.


  • Ratna Wahyuni Department of Health, Faculty of Vocational Studies Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya
  • Linda Astari Institute of Tropical Disease Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya
  • Iswahyudi Iswahyudi Institute of Tropical Disease Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya
  • Sepling Paling Department of Primary Teacher Education STKIP Kristen Wamena, Papua
  • Dinar Adriaty Institute of Tropical Disease Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya
  • Siti Kurniawati Department of Clinical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine Brawijaya University, Malang
  • Syifa Aulia Department of Health, Faculty of Vocational Studies Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya
  • Bandaru Rahmatari Faculty of Dentistry, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surabaya, Surabaya
  • Cita Rosita Prakoeswa Department of Dermatovenereology, Faculty of Medicine Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya
  • Indropo Agusni Department of Dermatovenereology, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya 4 Department of Primary Teacher Education, STKIP Kristen Wamena, Papua
  • Shinzo Izumi Institute of Tropical Disease Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya



Acanthamoeba sp, Environment, Free-Living Amoeba, Leprosy, Mycobacterium leprae, Survival


Mycobacterium leprae is an acid-fast bacterium that causes leprosy diseases, which remains a problem worldwide. Even though leprosy prevalence in the world has decreased significantly, many endemic pocket areas continue reporting new cases and harbor M. leprae in the environment, including water and soil. The presence of obligate intracellular bacteria-M. leprae in the environment raises a question on how it survives. Free-living amoeba has been proposed as its reservoir host in the environment. The study was conducted to give evidence that M. leprae can survive inside free-living amoeba isolated from water sources of leprosy endemic areas. M. leprae from leprosy patients was cultured together with Acanthamoeba sp. isolated from the water source of the leprosy endemic area. Viability and duplication of M. leprae inside amoeba then observed at day 14 and 28 using reverse transcriptase PCR and qPCR. The results showed that M. leprae survived inside the amoeba until day 28, but no bacterial replication was observed. The study reveals in vitro evidence of viable M. leprae inside free-living amoeba of leprosy endemic area environment.


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