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Clin Exp Immunol. 1990 Jun;80(3):324-31.

The role of macrophage activation and of Bcg-encoded macrophage function(s) in the control of Mycobacterium avium infection in mice.

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Centro de Citologia Experimental, University of Porto, Portugal.


Following the intraperitoneal inoculation of 2.5 x 10(8) colony-forming units of Mycobacterium avium strain ATCC 25291, there was bacillary growth in the liver, spleen and peritoneal cavity of C57BL/6, C57BL/10, DBA/1 and BALB/c mice whereas DBA/2, C3H/He, CBA/Ca and CD-1 mice controlled the infection showing constant or slightly decreasing numbers of viable bacteria in the liver and spleen and effective clearance of the bacilli from the peritoneal cavities. The acquisition of non-specific resistance (NSR) to Listeria monocytogenes during the infection by M. avium was high in C57BL/6, BALB/c and C3H/He mice and negligible in DBA/2 and CD-1 mice. The magnitude of the acquisition of NSR was reduced in T cell-deficient mice and was directly proportional to the dose of the inoculum of M. avium. The production of hydrogen peroxide by phorbol myristate acetate-stimulated peritoneal macrophages of M. avium-infected mice was higher in C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice than in CD-1, DBA/2 and C3H/He animals. BALB/c. Bcgr (C.D2) mice, unlike their congenic strain BALB/c, restricted bacterial growth following the intravenous inoculation of 2.5 x 10(8) CFU of M. avium as efficiently as DBA/2 mice. C.D2 and BALB/c peritoneal macrophages from infected mice produced similar amounts of H2O2 but BALB/c mice developed higher levels of NSR to listeria than C.D2 mice. The production of nitrite by peritoneal macrophages from infected mice was found to be enhanced in DBA/2 and C3H/He but not in BALB/c, C57BL/6, DC-1 and C.D2 mice. Resident peritoneal macrophages from C.D2 mice were more bacteriostatic in vitro for M. avium than macrophages from BALB/c mice. The same relative differences between the two macrophage populations were observed when the cells were activated with lymphokines. The results show that the populations were observed when the cells were activated with lymphokines. The results show that the resistance to M. avium infection in mice is under the control of the Bcg gene and that susceptibility may be due to some defect in macrophage antibacterial function not completely overcome by the activation of this phagocyte in the susceptible strains of mice.

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