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Infect Immun. 2001 Sep;69(9):5502-8.

Induction of specific cytotoxic lymphocytes in mice vaccinated with Brucella abortus RB51.

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Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0342, USA.


A safe, more sensitive, nonradioactive, neutral red uptake assay was adopted to replace the traditional 51Cr release assay for detection of Brucella-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity. Our studies indicated that Brucella abortus strain RB51 vaccination of mice induced specific CTLs against both strain RB51- and strain 2308-infected J774.A1 macrophages but not against Listeria monocytogenes-infected J774.A1 cells. The antigen-specific cytotoxic activity was exerted by T lymphocytes but not by NK cells. CD3+ CD4+ T cells secreted the highest level of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and were able to exert a low but significant level of specific lysis of Brucella-infected macrophages. They also exerted a low level of nonspecific lysis of noninfected macrophages. In contrast, CD3+ CD8+ T cells secreted low levels of IFN-gamma but demonstrated high levels of specific lysis of Brucella-infected macrophages with no nonspecific lysis. These findings indicate that B. abortus strain RB51 vaccination of mice induces specific CTLs and suggest that CD3+ CD4+ and CD3+ CD8+ T cells play a synergistic role in the anti-Brucella activity.

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