Genetically Determined Disparate Innate and Adaptive Cell-Mediated Immune Responses to Pulmonary Mycobacterium bovis BCG Infection in C57BL/6 and BALB/c Mice Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • ABSTRACT The current study was designed to investigate the impact of genetic heterogeneity on host immune responses to pulmonary intracellular infection by using two mouse strains of distinct genetic background, C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice, and a model intracellular pathogen, Mycobacterium bovis BCG. Upon infection, compared to C57BL/6 mice, BALB/c mice developed an earlier response of interleukin 12 (IL-12), gamma interferon (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor alpha, and macrophage chemoattractive protein 1, and greater neutrophilic influx to the lung by days 7 and 14. However, the level of these cytokines at days 27, 43, and 71 was much lower in BALB/c mice than in C57BL/6 mice. The magnitude of cellular responses was also much lower in the lung of BALB/c mice around day 27. Histologically, while C57BL/6 mice developed lymphocytic granulomas, BALB/c mice displayed atypical granulomas in the lung. Of importance, the level of type 2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-10 remained low and similar in the lung of both C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice throughout. Furthermore, lymphocytes isolated from systemic and local lymphoid tissues of infected BALB/c mice demonstrated a markedly lower antigen-specific IFN-γ recall response. While the number of mycobacterial bacilli recovered from both the lung and spleen of BALB/c mice was similar to that in C57BL/6 mice at day 14, it was higher than that in C57BL/6 mice at day 43. However, it was eventually leveled off to that in C57BL/6 counterparts later. These results suggest the following: (i) genetic heterogeneity can lead to differential innate and adaptive cell-mediated immune responses to primary pulmonary mycobacterial infection; (ii) it is the level of adaptive, but not innate, immune response that is critical to host resistance; and (iii) a lower type 1 immune response in BALB/c mice is not accompanied by a heightened type 2 response during pulmonary mycobacterial infection.

publication date

  • December 2000