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J Med Microbiol. 2001 May;50(5):456-61.

Induction of interleukin-10 and down-regulation of cytokine production by Klebsiella pneumoniae capsule in mice with pulmonary infection.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Toho University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


The role of the capsule of Klebsiella pneumoniae in inducing cytokine production was investigated by comparing the responses of mice with experimentally induced pneumonia caused by capsulate (strain DT-S) or non-capsulate (mutant strain DT-X) K. pneumoniae. Anaesthetised ICR mice were inoculated intranasally. Whereas all DT-S-infected mice died within 3 days, no deaths were observed in DT-X-infected mice by 14 days after infection. During the early stage of infection, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of DT-X-infected mice were significantly higher than those in DT-S-infected mice. In contrast, in the late stage of infection, serum levels of granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and IFN-gamma in DT-S-infected mice were significantly higher than those in DT-X-infected mice. Levels of interleukin10 (IL-10) in BALF and serum of DT-S-infected mice were significantly and persistently higher than those of DT-X-infected mice. The IL-10/TNF-alpha (tumour necrosis factor-a) ratios in BALF and serum indicated that higher levels of IL-10 production were induced in mice infected with strain DT-S than in those infected with strain DT-X. The results suggest that the capsule of K. pneumoniae may induce IL-10 production at the site of infection and, thereafter, these high IL-10 levels may serve to down-regulate the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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