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Infect Immun. 1987 May;55(5):1144-50.

Comparative virulence of intra- and interstrain lipopolysaccharide variants of Coxiella burnetii in the guinea pig model.


We compared the relative infectivity and virulence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) variants of the Nine Mile strain of Coxiella burnetii with those of the Priscilla strain, a representative of endocarditis-type strains. In agreement with results of previous studies, Nine Mile phase I (9mi/I) organisms were highly infectious, eliciting seroconversion and fever with inocula containing as few as four organisms. Viable 9mi/I was recovered from the spleens of infected animals 30 days postinfection. Nine Mile phase II (9mi/II) organisms did not elicit fever or seroconversion except with very large inocula, and viable organisms could not be recovered at 30 days postinfection. The Nine Mile/Crazy variant, bearing the intermediate-type LPS, was also highly infectious, as determined by fever response and seroconversion, although, as with 9mi/II, viable organisms could not be recovered 30 days postinfection. The Priscilla strain in phase I (Pris/I) was as infectious as 9mi/I, as determined by seroconversion and its presence in the spleen 30 days postinfection; but in contrast to 9mi/I, more than 10(5) Pris/I isolates were required to induce fever. The temporal appearances of anti-phase I and II antibodies were similar for the two strains. A variety of serological techniques measuring antibody response against whole-cell and purified LPS antigens in agglutination, immunofluorescence, enzyme-linked immunosorbent, and immunoblot assays did not demonstrate sufficient specificity to distinguish between 9mi/I and Pris/I infections. Results of vaccine cross-challenge experiments showed a significant degree of protection between homologous and heterologous challenge strains. protection between homologous.

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