Adoptive transfer of BALb/c mouse splenocytes reduces lesion severity and induces intestinal pathophysiologic changes in the Mycobacterium avium Subspecies paratuberculosis beige/scid mouse model.
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Successful immune reconstitution would enhance resistance of beige/scid mice to chronic infection with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, but may cause damage to intestinal tissue. Therefore, we investigated the effect of adoptive transfer of BALB/c mouse splenocytes on lesion severity and intestinal physiology in beige/scid mice infected with M. paratuberculosis. Mice were inoculated intraperitoneally (i.p.) with M. paratuberculosis, and two weeks later were inoculated i.p. with viable spleen cells from immune-competent BALB/c mice. Mice were necropsied 12 weeks after infection when engraftment of lymphocytes, clinical disease, pathologic lesions, and intestinal electrophysiologic parameters were evaluated. Lymphocytes were rare in control beige/scid mice not inoculated with spleen cells. In contrast, high numbers of CD4+, CD8+, and B220+ lymphocytes were detected in the spleen of all beige/scid mice (n = 24) inoculated with spleen cells, indicating that adoptive transfer resulted in successful engraftment of donor lymphocytes (immune reconstitution). Immune reconstitution of M. paratuberculosis-infected beige/ scid mice significantly reduced the severity of clinical disease and pathologic lesions, and numbers of bacteria in the liver. However, intestinal electrophysiologic parameters studied in vitro indicated that intestinal tissues from reconstituted beige/scid mice had reduced short-circuit current responses (due to reduced ion secretion) following electrical, glucose, and forskolin stimulation. These abnormal responses suggested that neural or epithelial cells in the intestine were damaged. We conclude that successful immune reconstitution of beige/scid mice enhance their resistance to M. paratuberculosis infection, but may cause pathophysiologic changes associated with intestinal inflammation.
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