Nerve damage, a characteristic of leprosy, is the cause of patient deformities and a consequence of Schwann cells (SC) infection by Mycobacterium leprae
. Although function/dysfunction of SC in human diseases like leprosy is difficult to study, many in vitro models, including SC lines derived from rat and/or human Schwannomas, have been employed. ST88-14 is one of the cell lineages used by many researchers as a model for M. leprae
/SC interaction. However, it is necessary to establish the values and limitations of the generated data on the effects of M. leprae
in these SC. After evaluating the cell line phenotype in the present study, it is close to non-myelinating SC, making this lineage an ideal model for M. leprae
/SC interaction. It was also observed that both M. leprae
and PGL-1, a mycobacterial cell-wall component, induced low levels of apoptosis in ST88-14 by a mechanism independent of Bcl-2 family members.