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J Immunol. 1999 Jun 15;162(12):7389-96.

Complex requirements for nascent and memory immunity in pulmonary histoplasmosis.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, OH 45267, USA.


The presence of functional T cells is often required for successful resolution of infections with intracellular pathogens, yet the mechanisms by which they contribute to elimination of the invading pathogen in primary and secondary immunity are only partly understood. We report that increased mortality of naive alpha/beta TCR+ or CD4+ T cell-depleted mice infected with the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum is associated with impairment of IFN-gamma production. Upon secondary infection, mice concomitantly depleted of CD4+ and CD8+ cells exhibit decreased survival beyond day 25 of rechallenge, whereas elimination of either T cell subset or B cell deficiency does not result in accelerated mortality compared with controls. Remarkably, despite a decrease of H. capsulatum CFU in lungs of CD4+ plus CD8+-deficient mice, a progressive increase in spleen CFU is observed. The ability to control fungus growth in lungs is associated with vigorous TNF-alpha, but not IFN-gamma, production by bronchoalveolar lavage cells. In contrast, spleen cells from CD4+ plus CD8+-deficient mice are unable to produce TNF-alpha. Thus, the cellular and molecular requirements for protective immunity vary between primary and secondary infection. Furthermore, in secondary histoplasmosis, a sharp contrast can be drawn between lungs and spleens in their reliance upon T cells to control fungal replication. The opposing activities of these organs can be ascribed in part to differential production of TNF-alpha.

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