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Clin Dev Immunol. 2012;2012:589494. doi: 10.1155/2012/589494. Epub 2011 Dec 11.

Host susceptibility to Brucella abortus infection is more pronounced in IFN-γ knockout than IL-12/β2-microglobulin double-deficient mice.

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Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Minas Gerais, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.


Brucella abortus is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes abortion in domestic animals and undulant fever in humans. IFN-γ, IL-12, and CD8+ T lymphocytes are important components of host immune responses against B. abortus. Herein, IFN-γ and IL-12/β2-microglobulin (β2-m) knockout mice were used to determine whether CD8+ T cells and IL-12-dependent IFN-γ deficiency would be more critical to control B. abortus infection compared to the lack of endogenous IFN-γ. At 1 week after infection, IFN-γ KO and IL-12/β2-m KO mice showed increased numbers of bacterial load in spleens; however, at 3 weeks postinfection (p.i.), only IFN-γ KO succumbed to Brucella. All IFN-γ KO had died at 16 days p.i. whereas death within the IL-12/β2-m KO group was delayed and occurred at 32 days until 47 days postinfection. Susceptibility of IL-12/β2-m KO animals to Brucella was associated to undetectable levels of IFN-γ in mouse splenocytes and inability of these cells to lyse Brucella-infected macrophages. However, the lack of endogenous IFN-γ was found to be more important to control brucellosis than CD8+ T cells and IL-12-dependent IFN-γ deficiencies.

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