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Microbiol Immunol. 1978;22(4):181-95.

Acquired immunity to Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Pneumonia in hamsters.


An inactivated Mycoplasma pneumoniae vaccine was prepared from a culture in a liquid medium supplemented with water extract of egg yolk. Vaccinated Syrian hamsters were exposed to virulent M. pneumoniae aerosol and were examined for the retention of mycoplasmas and for histopathological changes in the respiratory tracts. When a vaccine prepared with strain FH was administered intramuscularly or by inhalation in aerosol, no significant resistance was shown with respect to mycoplasma proliferation. An increased resistance, however, was observed when an aluminium phosphate-adsorbed vaccine, and when a plain vaccine (although to a lesser degree) prepared with hamster 24-passaged strain FH, was administered intramuscularly. Histopathologically, lung lesions were markedly suppressed in groups showing high resistance. A correlation between the serum antibody titer and the resistance to infection was observed. Hamsters which received a hyperimmune rabbit antiserum intracordally showed a high resistance to M. pneumoniae infection. The suppression of histopathological changes also coincided with high complement-fixing antibody titers of either actively or passively immunized hamster serum. The results suggest that humoral immunity plays an important role in resistance to M. pneumoniae pneumonia in hamsters.

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