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Microbes Infect. 2006 Apr;8(5):1339-46. Epub 2006 Mar 24.

A role for dendritic cells in the dissemination of mycobacterial infection.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection, Flowers Building, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK.


The ability of mycobacteria to disseminate from the initial site of infection has an important role in immune priming and in the seeding of disease in multiple organs. To study this phenomenon, we used flow cytometry to analyse the distribution of green fluorescent protein-labelled BCG amongst different populations of antigen-presenting cells in the lungs of mice following intranasal infection, and monitored appearance of live bacteria in the draining mediastinal lymph nodes. BCG predominantly infected alveolar macrophages (CD11c(+)/CD11b(-)) and dendritic cells (CD11c(+)/CD11b(+)) in the lungs. The bacteria that disseminated to the lymph node were found in dendritic cells. The results are consistent with a model in which mycobacterial dissemination from the lung is initiated by the migration of infected dendritic cells to the draining lymph nodes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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