Send to

Choose Destination
Microb Pathog. 1987 Jan;2(1):3-14.

Experimental murine tularemia caused by Francisella tularensis, live vaccine strain: a model of acquired cellular resistance.

Author information

Department of Physiology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


We have established a model of experimentally-induced tularemia in mice, using the live vaccine strain of Francisella tularensis. A sublethal, intravenous inoculation of this organism caused in C57BL/6 strain mice an acute infection which lasted approximately 12 days. The clearance of Francisella from the bloodstream was shown to be complete by 5.5 hours postinfection. At this time, approximately twice as many bacteria were isolated from the spleen as from the liver. Mice which had recovered from a primary infection demonstrated a significant resistance to re-infection with autologous Francisella, a memory which persisted for at least 15 weeks. Resistance to experimental tularemia could be passively transferred from infected mice to naive mice by means of non-adherent spleen cells. Cells capable of adoptive transfer of resistance were present at a maximal concentration 7 days following infection, and persisted in significant numbers within the spleen cell population for at least 20 days after infection. Treatment of mice with serum from recovered animals caused a decrease in resistance when measured in the livers, and an increase in resistance when measured in the spleens. Suppression of T cell-mediated immunity during infection by treatment with cyclosporin A resulted in a dramatic increase in the tissue bacterial counts. Cyclosporin A-induced suppression of antitularemic resistance was first noted 2-3 days following infection and remained apparent for at least 8 days. The results of these experiments demonstrate that resistance to experimental murine tularemia is mediated predominantly by a cell-mediated mechanism. This mechanism involves T cells which become activated as early as 2-3 days following infection. Experimental, non-lethal infection with Francisella tularensis is thus an excellent model for investigating the mechanisms of acquired cellular immunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center