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Vet Pathol. 1996 May;33(3):282-9.

Morphometric and histopathologic analysis of lymphoid depletion in murine spleens following infection with Brucella abortus strains 2308 or RB51 or an htrA deletion mutant.

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National Animal Disease Center, US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, Ames, IA, USA.


BALB/C mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with suspensions of Brucella abortus strains 2308 or RB51 or an htrA mutant. Spleens were examined on postinoculation day (PID) 2, 4, 7, 10, 15, 21, 30, and 60. Brucellae were cultured in high numbers from the spleens of mice infected with strains 2308 or htrA through PID 60; however, mice infected with strain RB51 cleared the infection between PID 30 and PID 60. Histopathologic changes in spleens from 2308-infected mice were characterized by marked accumulations of macrophages, which expanded marginal zones beginning as early as PID 7 and persisting through PID 60. Morphometric analysis showed a decrease in splenic white pulp in 2308-infected mice at PID 10, which correlated with the peak of bacterial infection. Although this decrease was significant (P < 0.05) when compared with values at the previous (PID 7) and the following (PID 15) time periods, it was not significantly different from white pulp values noted at PID 2 or PID 4 or the values for control spleens. Spleens from RB51-infected mice showed only mild to moderate accumulations of macrophages in marginal zone areas during the peak of RB51 infection (PID 7-10). Morphometric analysis of RB51-infected spleens showed a decrease in white pulp area, which coincided with peak bacterial numbers. However, this decrease was not significant (P > 0.05). Spleens from mice infected with the htrA mutant showed moderate to marked accumulations of macrophages in marginal zone areas, which persisted through PID 60. Multifocal necrosis in lymphoid follicles as early as PID 4 was seen in both htrA and 2308 infection. Morphometric analysis of htrA-infected spleens revealed no significant decrease in white pulp and no obvious correlation with bacterial numbers in the spleen. These results suggest that virulent B. abortus does not induce lymphoid depletion significantly below those values seen in noninfected mice; thus, the possible role of lymphoid depletion in the pathogenesis of brucellosis remains questionable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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