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J Med Microbiol. 2012 Oct;61(Pt 10):1373-9. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.047027-0. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

In vivo characteristics of Korean Beijing Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain K1 in an aerosol challenge model and in the Cornell latent tuberculosis model.

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Department of Microbiology and Institute for Immunology and Immunological Disease, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


The Beijing Mycobacterium tuberculosis family is widely distributed and is the most common M. tuberculosis strain in East Asia. The highly transmissible and predominant Beijing M. tuberculosis strain in Korea, M. tuberculosis K1, was characterized using an aerobic challenge mouse model and a latent tuberculosis model with M. tuberculosis H37Rv as a reference. M. tuberculosis K1 multiplied over ten times more rapidly than M. tuberculosis H37Rv during the early stage of infection and induced high levels of histopathology in the lung. Low levels of T helper cell (Th) Th1 [interferon (IFN)-γ, interleukin (IL)-12p40] and Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-10) were induced in the lungs of M. tuberculosis K1-infected mice. In the latent model, mice infected with M. tuberculosis K1 exhibited more frequent relapse from the latent state than did mice infected with M. tuberculosis H37Rv. In conclusion, M. tuberculosis K1, a prevalent Beijing strain in Korea, is expected to spread due to its rapid growth during the early stages of infection, low-level induction of the immune response and high relapse rates from a latent state.

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