Several years previous to the actual recognition of the causative agent of leprosy, Hansen saw and described certain elastic, fragile, brownish masses which later investigation proved to be collections of lepra bacilli and which were called ``globi'' by Neiser because the masses are usually of spherical form. Considerable discussion arose, thereafter, concerning the origin of these globular masses; Hansen, Neiser and others were of the opinion that they were intracellular, while Unna held the view that they were collections of bacilli formed within lymph spaces.
In the sixty years that have ensued since Hansen's earlier descriptions, these globular masses have received only passing attention; more recent observers dismiss them with the remarks that characteristic colonies, apparently zoogleic in nature, may be seen; some describe cells or cell-like bodies filled to distention with acid-fast organisms; others, under the term ``lepra cells," describe phagocytes that have engulfed acid-fast organisms. From the
DENNEY OE, EDDY BE. LEPROSY: COMMENTS ON IN VITRO BEHAVIOR OF LEPRA AND CERTAIN OTHER ACID-FAST MICRO-ORGANISMS IN PRESENCE OF LEUKOCYTES. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1933;27(5):794–806. doi:10.1001/archderm.1933.01450040803010
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