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Microb Pathog. 1989 Jul;7(1):15-35.

Resistance to the Sterne strain of B. anthracis: phagocytic cell responses of resistant and susceptible mice.

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  • 1Division of Bacteriology, United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Frederick, MD 21701-5011.


Inflammatory responses were compared in vivo, and host phagocytic cell functions compared in vitro, of mice resistant (CBA/J) and susceptible (A/J) to lethal infection with the Sterne strain of Bacillus anthracis. Polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) and macrophage responses at the initial site of infection were slower in A/J mice than in CBA/J mice. Whereas in A/J mice, the number of PMN ultimately responding to infection was equal to, or greater than, that in CBA/J mice, fewer macrophages accumulated. A/J mice failed to clear relatively low doses of the organisms and died. In vitro, chemotactic responses to both serum- and bacteria-derived attractants were similar for macrophages from A/J and CBA/J mice but were reduced for PMN from A/J mice. PMN and macrophages from the two mouse strains phagocytosed and killed spores in vitro to a similar extent, although killing by A/J PMN could be blocked by prior uptake of large numbers of killed spores. Thus susceptibility to lethal infection with Sterne strain correlated with the delayed influx (PMN) and reduced accumulation (macrophages) of phagocytes at the initial site of infection, but not with defective in vitro uptake or killing of spores.

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