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Clin Exp Immunol. 1986 Mar;63(3):517-25.

Control of the Bcg gene of early resistance in mice to infections with BCG substrains and atypical mycobacteria.


The effect of the Bcg gene on the early host response to intravenous infection with a variety of BCG substrains and some atypical mycobacteria was investigated. The numbers of live bacilli of BCG Pasteur and BCG Tice recovered from the spleens of Bcgs mice (C57BL/6, B10.A and BALB/c) at 3 weeks following infection exceeded the bacterial dose injected, whereas the number of CFU recovered from the spleens of Bcgr mice (A/J, DBA/2 and C3H/HeN) did not exceed the number of CFU injected, thus following the pattern observed in Bcgr mice and Bcgs infected with BCG Montreal. BCG Russia failed to multiply in both test groups; however, the number of CFU recovered in Bcgr mice was significantly lower than in Bcgs mice. On the other hand, the presence of live bacilli in the spleens of either Bcgr or Bcgs mice injected with BCG Japan was undetectable in most cases. Involvement of the Bcg gene in the early resistance to infection with BCG Pasteur, BCG Russia, Mycobacterium kansasii and M. intracellulare was documented by the significant differences in the kinetics of infections in mice of the C.D2 (BALB/c-Bcgr) and BALB/c (Bcgs) congenic lines. In BCG Russia, M. intracellulare and M. fortuitum infections, the phenotypic expression of the Bcg gene resulted in a more rapid elimination of the bacteria in the spleens of Bcgr when compared with Bcgs mice. On the other hand, the hepatic granuloma formation correlated with bacterial load except when C.D2 mice were infected with a small dose of BCG Pasteur or M. kansasii where extensive granulomatous hepatitis developed although no bacterial multiplication occurred in the spleen. It is suggested that granuloma formation could depend of the properties of the mycobacteria as well as the genetic background of the host without implicating the bacterial burden.

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