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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2008 Apr;52(3):379-88. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2008.00389.x. Epub 2008 Feb 22.

Susceptibility to Burkholderia pseudomallei is associated with host immune responses involving tumor necrosis factor receptor-1 (TNFR1) and TNF receptor-2 (TNFR2).

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School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld, Australia.


Melioidosis is caused by the facultative intracellular bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei. Using C57BL/6 mice, we investigated the role of macrophages, TNF-alpha, TNF receptor-1 (TNFR1) and TNF receptor-2 (TNFR2) in host defense against B. pseudomallei using an experimental model of melioidosis. This study has demonstrated that in vivo depletion of macrophages renders C57BL/6 mice highly susceptible to intranasal infection with B. pseudomallei, with significant mortality occurring within 5 days of infection. Using knockout mice, we have also shown that TNF-alpha and both TNFR1 and TNFR2 are required for optimal control of B. pseudomallei infection. Compared with control mice, increased bacterial loads were demonstrated in spleen and liver of knockout mice at day 2 postinfection, correlating with increased inflammatory infiltrates comprised predominantly of neutrophils and widespread necrosis. Following infection with B. pseudomallei, mortality rates of 85.7%, 70% and 91.7% were observed for mice deficient in TNF-alpha, TNFR1 and TNFR2, respectively. Comparison of survival, bacterial loads and histology indicate that macrophages, TNF-alpha, TNFR1 or TNFR2 play a role in controlling rapid dissemination of B. pseudomallei.

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