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Infect Immun. 2001 May;69(5):3264-70.

Immunological basis for reactivation of tuberculosis in mice.

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Departments of Microbiology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.


In this study different inbred strains of mice appeared to control and contain a low dose aerosol infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a similar manner, giving rise to a chronic state of disease. Thereafter, however, certain strains gradually began to show evidence of regrowth of the infection, whereas others consistently did not. Using C57BL/6 mice as an example of a resistant strain and CBA/J mice as an example of a strain susceptible to bacterial growth, we found that these animals revealed distinct differences in the cellular makeup of lung granulomas. The CBA/J mice exhibited a generally poor lymphocyte response within the lungs and vastly increased degenerative pathology at a time associated with regrowth of the infection. As a possible explanation for these events, it was then observed that the CBA/J mouse strain was also less able to upregulate adhesion molecules, including CD11a and CD54, on circulating lymphocytes. These results therefore suggest that a failure to control a chronic infection with M. tuberculosis may reflect an inability to localize antigen-specific lymphocytes within the lung.

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