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Infect Immun. 1992 Jul;60(7):2880-6.

Spleen cell cytokine secretion in Mycobacterium bovis BCG-infected mice.

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  • 1Instituut Pasteur van Brabant, Brussels, Belgium.


Three susceptible mouse strains, i.e., BALB/c (H-2d), C57BL/6 (H-2b), and major histocompatibility complex-congenic BALB.B10 (H-2b), were infected intravenously with 4 x 10(6) CFU of live Mycobacterium bovis BCG and analyzed 4 weeks later for in vitro spleen cell cytokine secretion in response to purified protein derivative (PPD), BCG culture filtrate (CF), BCG cellular extract, total BCG, the purified extracellular 30-32-kDa antigen (the fibronectin-binding antigen 85), or the intracellular 65-kDa heat shock protein. C57BL/6 and BALB.B10 mice produced 5- to 10-fold more gamma interferon and interleukin-2 (IL-2) when stimulated with CF, PPD, and antigen 85 than BALB/c mice did. When stimulated with BCG extract and whole BCG, gamma interferon and IL-2 levels were generally lower and comparable in the three strains. IL-4 was detected in spleen cell culture supernatants from infected BALB/c mice but not from C57BL/6 or BALB.B10 mice. IL-5 could not be detected. C57BL/6 and BALB.B10 spleen cells also produced more tumor necrosis factor alpha and IL-6 after stimulation with PPD and CF than BALB/c cells did. Finally, BCG vaccination generated efficient protective immunity in C57BL/6 and BALB.B10 mice but not in BALB/c mice. These data suggest that secreted mycobacterial CF antigens selectively induce a strong TH1 response in BCG-infected C57BL/6 and BALB.B10 mice, whereas in BALB/c mice this response is partly counterbalanced by TH2 cells.

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