Chronic brucellosis patients display a defective Th1 response to PHA. We have previously shown that heat-killed B. abortus (HKBA) can downregulate the PHA-induced increase of CD4+/CD25+ and CD14+/CD80+ cells of brucellosis patients. In the present study, we investigate the effect of
E. coliLPS, as a potent stimulant of monocytes and autologous T-lymphocytes, on the PHA-cultured PBMCs of the same groups of patients. Thirteen acute brucellosis (AB) patients, 22 chronic brucellosis (CB) patients, 11 “cured” subjects, and 15 healthy volunteers were studied. The percentage of CD4+/CD25+ and CD4+/CD28+ T-lymphocytes as well as CD14+/CD80+ monocytes were analyzed by flow cytometry after PBMCs culture with PHA plus E. coliLPS. A significant decrease in the percentage of CD4+/CD25+ and CD4+/CD28+ T-lymphocytes was observed in CB compared to AB. In HKBA cultures, compared to E. coliLPS-cultures, there was a significant reduction of CD4+/CD25+ T-lymphocytes in all groups and CD14+/CD80+ in patients groups. We suggest that Brucella can modulate host immune response, leading to T-cell anergy and chronic infection.