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Infect Immun. 1991 Sep;59(9):2922-8.

Live vaccine strain of Francisella tularensis: infection and immunity in mice.

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  • 1Department of Cellular Immunology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C. 20307-5100.


The live vaccine strain (LVS) of Francisella tularensis caused lethal disease in several mouse strains. Lethality depended upon the dose and route of inoculation. The lethal dose for 50% of the mice (LD50) in four of six mouse strains (A/J, BALB/cHSD, C3H/HeNHSD, and SWR/J) given an intraperitoneal (i.p.) inoculation was less than 10 CFU. For the other two strains tested, C3H/HeJ and C57BL/6J, the i.p. log LD50 was 1.5 and 2.7, respectively. Similar susceptibility was observed in mice inoculated by intravenous (i.v.) and intranasal (i.n.) routes: in all cases the LD50 was less than 1,000 CFU. Regardless of the inoculation route (i.p., i.v., or i.n.), bacteria were isolated from spleen, liver, and lungs within 3 days of introduction of bacteria; numbers of bacteria increased in these infected organs over 5 days. In contrast to the other routes of inoculation, mice injected with LVS intradermally (i.d.) survived infection: the LD50 of LVS by this route was much greater than 10(5) CFU. This difference in susceptibility was not due solely to local effects at the dermal site of inoculation, since bacteria were isolated from the spleen, liver, and lungs within 3 days by this route as well. The i.d.-infected mice were immune to an otherwise lethal i.p. challenge with as many as 10(4) CFU, and immunity could be transferred with either serum, whole spleen cells, or nonadherent spleen cells (but not Ig+ cells). A variety of infectious agents induce different disease syndromes depending on the route of entry. Francisella LVS infection in mice provides a model system for analysis of locally induced protective effector mechanisms.

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