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Int Immunol. 2005 Nov;17(11):1399-408. Epub 2005 Sep 1.

Pulmonary Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice.

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Laboratory of Experimental Internal Medicine, and Department of Pathology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The development of active tuberculosis after infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis is almost invariably caused by a persistent or transient state of relative immunodeficiency. Leptin, the product of the obese (ob) gene, is a pleiotropic protein produced mainly by adipocytes and is down-regulated during malnutrition and starvation, conditions closely connected with active tuberculosis. To investigate the role of leptin in tuberculosis, we intranasally infected wild-type (Wt) and leptin-deficient ob/ob mice with live virulent M. tuberculosis. Ob/ob mice displayed higher mycobacterial loads in the lungs after 5 and 10 weeks of infection, although the difference with Wt mice remained 1 log of M. tuberculosis colony forming unit. Nevertheless, ob/ob mice were less able to form well-shaped granuloma and lung lymphocyte numbers were reduced compared with Wt mice early during infection. In addition, ob/ob mice had a reduced capacity to produce the protective cytokine IFNgamma at the site of the infection early during infection and upon antigen-specific recall stimulation, and showed reduced delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction to intra-dermal tuberculin purified protein derivative. Leptin replacement restored the reduced IFNgamma response observed in ob/ob mice. Mortality did not differ between ob/ob and Wt mice. These data suggest that leptin plays a role in the early immune response to pulmonary tuberculosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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