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Microb Pathog. 2000 Sep;29(3):175-85.

Aerosol infection of mice with recombinant BCG secreting murine IFN-gamma partially reconstitutes local protective immunity.

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Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


To better understand the contribution of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) to the immune response during the first 60 days of mycobacterial infection in the lungs, IFN-gamma gene disrupted (IFN-gamma-/-) mice were infected via aerosol with recombinant Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) secreting murine IFN-gamma (BCG-IFN-gamma) and compared to mice infected with recombinant BCG containing the vector only (BCG-vector). When IFN-gamma-/- mice were infected with BCG-vector, increasing bacillary loads and large undifferentiated granulomas that did not express inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) were observed in the lungs. In contrast, infection with BCG-IFN-gamma resulted in reduced bacillary load and better differentiated granulomas containing epithelioid macrophages expressing iNOS as well as reduced levels of interleukin 10 (IL-10) mRNA. However, local production of IFN-gamma by the recombinant BCG did not protect IFN-gamma-/- mice from subsequent challenge with M. tuberculosis. Infection of IFN-gamma-/- peritoneal macrophages in vitro with BCG-IFN-gamma led to induction of iNOS expression and lower IL-10 mRNA levels. Nevertheless, the growth of the intracellular BCG was unaffected. Since IFN-gamma induced-iNOS protein and reduced IL-10 production were insufficient to control mycobacterial growth in vitro, the results suggest that additional mediator(s) present in vivo are required for control of mycobacterial growth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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