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J Immunol. 2008 Nov 15;181(10):7157-65.

NOD2-deficient mice have impaired resistance to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection through defective innate and adaptive immunity.

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Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada.


NOD2/CARD15 mediates innate immune responses to mycobacterial infection. However, its role in the regulation of adaptive immunity has remained unknown. In this study, we examined host defense, T cell responses, and tissue pathology in two models of pulmonary mycobacterial infection, using wild-type and Nod2-deficient mice. During the early phase of aerosol infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nod2(-/-) mice had similar bacterial counts but reduced inflammatory response on histopathology at 4 and 8 wk postchallenge compared with wild-type animals. These findings were confirmed upon intratracheal infection of mice with attenuated Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin. Analysis of the lungs 4 wk after bacillus Calmette-Guérin infection demonstrated that Nod2(-/-) mice had decreased production of type 1 cytokines and reduced recruitment of CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells. Ag-specific T cell responses in both the spleens and thoracic lymph nodes were diminished in Nod2(-/-) mice, indicating impaired adaptive antimycobacterial immunity. The immune regulatory role of NOD2 was not restricted to the lung since Nod2 disruption also led to reduced type 1 T cell activation following i.m. bacillus Calmette-Guérin infection. To determine the importance of diminished innate and adaptive immunity, we measured bacterial burden 6 mo after aerosol infection with M. tuberculosis and followed a second infected group for assessment of survival. Nod2(-/-) mice had a higher bacterial burden in the lungs 6 mo after infection and succumbed sooner than did wild-type controls. Taken together, these data indicate that NOD2 mediates resistance to mycobacterial infection via both innate and adaptive immunity.

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