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Immunology. 1993 Nov;80(3):458-64.

Cytokine production in the murine response to brucella infection or immunization with antigenic extracts.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


In order to induce acquired cellular resistance (ACR) to facultative intracellular bacterial pathogens, infection with live organisms is required. It is possible that different cytokine responses to live bacteria or their extracted antigens could account for their different abilities to induce ACR. Therefore, mice were infected with live attenuated Brucella abortus vaccine strain 19, and their ability to produce cytokines, both in vivo and in vitro, was investigated over 12 weeks of infection. This was compared with the response to injection of soluble brucella proteins (SBP). During infection, serum levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) were markedly increased over a period of 4 weeks during the peak of infection. SBP plus adjuvant induced a transient increase in serum IL-6. IL-1 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) remained undetectable in both instances. Spleen cells taken at intervals after infection and cultured with brucella antigens produced high titres of IL-6, IL-1 and TNF-alpha. Immunization with SBP was less efficient than live infection at inducing these cytokines. Of the characteristically T-cell-derived lymphokines, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production rose 2 weeks after infection, peaking at 6 weeks, while IL-2 was not detected until 6 weeks post-infection. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) was produced in substantial amounts, but IL-3 production was minimal. In contrast, spleen cells from mice immunized with SBP produced IL-2 but failed to produce IFN-gamma. The implications of these results for the induction of ACR are discussed.

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