A CENTURY-LONG search for an unaltered animal in which to study leprosy in humans culminated in the finding that the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus, Linn.), a primitive mammal native to the southern Western Hemisphere, develops disseminated lepromatous leprosy following inoculation with Mycobacterium leprae isolated from human tissue1–3. Previous animals only developed leprosy following inoculation with leprosy bacilli after having been immunologically suppressed by neonatal thymectomy with or without irradiation of bone marrow4–8. Yet curiously the leprosy lesions occurred chiefly on the cooler tissues, the footpads.
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PURTILO, D., WALSH, G., STORRS, E. et al. Impact of cool temperatures on transformation of human and armadillo lymphocytes (Dasypus novemcinctus, Linn.) as related to leprosy. Nature 248, 450–452 (1974). https://doi.org/10.1038/248450a0
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