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Immunology. 1996 Sep;89(1):26-33.

Correlation between the kinetics of Th1, Th2 cells and pathology in a murine model of experimental pulmonary tuberculosis.

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Department of Pathology, Instituto Nacional de la Nutrición Salvador Zubiran, Mexico City, Mexico.


T-helper 1 (Th1) Th2 kinetics were studied by immunohistochemistry and molecular biology techniques (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. RT PCR, Southern-blot) during the course of pulmonary tuberculosis induced in BALB/c mice by the intratracheal instillation of the live and virulent strain H-37Rv. The histopathological study clearly showed two phases of the disease. The first one was an acute phase which was characterized by inflammatory infiltrate in the alveolar capillary interstitium, blood vessel and bronchial wall with formation of granulomas. In this acute phase which lasted from 1 to 28 days, a clear predominance of Th1 cells was observed, manifested by a high percentage of interleukin-2 (IL-2) positive cells in the inflammatory infiltrate and granulomas demonstrated by immunohistology, as well as a gradual increment of interferon-gamma (INF-gamma) m-RNA. This was followed by a chronic or advanced phase characterized by pneumonia, focal necrosis and fibrosis, with a Th0 balance due to an equivalent proportion of IL-2 and IL-4 positive cells in the lung lesions, that coincided with the highest level of INF-gamma and IL-4 mRNA. The cytofluorometric analysis of bronchial lavage cells, showed a predominance of CD4 T cells during the acute phase and CD8 T lymphocytes in the chronic phase, gamma-delta T lymphocytes showed two peaks, at the beginning (3 days) and at the end (4 months) of the infection. These results suggest that T-lymphocyte subset kinetics and the pattern of cytokines produced in the lung during tuberculosis infection changed over time and correlate with the type and magnitude of tissue injury.

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