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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2001 Dec;32(1):85-8.

Immune control of Brucella abortus 2308 infections in BALB/c mice.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


BALB/c mice infected with Brucella abortus strain 2308 have 10-fold higher levels of bacteria during the plateau phase of infection (the time period when the number of colony-forming units in vivo remains consistent) than the more resistant C57BL/10 mice. This is due to a cessation of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production that begins after the first week of infection and continues until the end of the plateau phase at least 6 weeks post infection. Despite the lack of IFN-gamma production during this time BALB/c mice are able to prevent an increase in bacterial colony-forming units. Here it was shown that both tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and CD8 T cells were involved in controlling bacterial numbers in BALB/c mice during this time. That is, neutralization of TNF-alpha or depletion of CD8 T cells with monoclonal antibodies resulted in a significant increase in the number of splenic colony-forming units recovered at 3 weeks post infection. In the absence of CD8 T cells there was also a significant increase in splenic macrophages. The role of TNF-alpha may depend upon the presence of interferon-gamma early in the infection since when TNF-alpha was neutralized in interferon-gamma gene knockout mice there was a marked increase in splenic macrophages, NK cells and neutrophils but not a significant increase in colony-forming units.

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