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Eur J Immunol. 1995 Oct;25(10):2877-81.

Protective role of gamma/delta T cells and alpha/beta T cells in tuberculosis.

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Department of Immunology, University of Ulm, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Eur J Immunol 1995 Dec;25(12):3525.


Tuberculosis is a chronic infectious disease which causes major health problems globally. Although acquired resistance crucially depends on alpha/beta lymphocytes, circumstantial evidence suggests that, in addition, gamma/delta T lymphocytes contribute to protection against tuberculosis. We have studied Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in TcR-delta-/- or TcR-beta-/- gene deletion mutants which completely lack gamma/delta T cells or alpha/beta T cells, respectively. Low inocula of M. tuberculosis led to death of TcR-beta-/- mice and transient disease exacerbation in TcR-delta-/- mutants. Infection with higher inocula caused rapid death of TcR-delta-/- mice. The development of and bacterial containment in granulomatous lesions was markedly impaired in TcR-beta-/-, and less severely affected in TcR-delta-/- mutants. Mycobacteria-induced IFN-gamma production by spleen cells in vitro was almost abolished in TcR-beta-/- and virtually unaffected in TcR-delta-/- mice. Our data confirm the crucial role of alpha/beta T cells in protection against established tuberculosis and formally prove a protective role of gamma/delta T cells in early tuberculosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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