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Microbiol Immunol. 1994;38(5):345-52.

Gene expression of tumor necrosis factor alpha and interferon gamma in the lungs of Mycoplasma pulmonis-infected mice.

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Department of Microbiology, Kurume University School of Medicine, Fukuoka, Japan.


ICR mice were infected intranasally with Mycoplasma pulmonis isolated freshly from the lungs of a rat with pneumonia. We demonstrated with high reproducibility the expressions of messenger RNAs of cytokines, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) and interferon gamma (IFN gamma) in the lung tissue of M. pulmonis-infected mice by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and confirmed specific mRNA of the cytokines by restriction endonuclease digestion. Both the viable population of M. pulmonis in the lung tissue and the titers of the neutralizing antibody in the serum increased between 7 and 21 days, and reached their maximum 35 days after infection. The pneumonia in mice progresses with the development of lung lesions after 7 days of infection. The early lesions are characterized primarily by neutrophils and edema in the alveolar spaces. mRNAs prepared from the lung tissue of M. pulmonis-infected and -uninfected mice were also tested for the presence of messages specific to TNF alpha and IFN gamma by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The expression of the genes encoding TNF alpha and IFN gamma was constitutively demonstrated from 24 hr through 35 days after the intranasal inoculation of M. pulmonis. Furthermore, cells of two types, adherent and nonadherent cells, in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids obtained from the mice 3 weeks after inoculation of M. pulmonis were also found to express the genes of TNF alpha and IFN gamma respectively. These data suggest that these cytokines would play a role in both stimulation in the development of pathological changes in mycoplasmal infection, affecting the inflammatory responses.

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