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Scand J Immunol. 1997 Jul;46(1):16-26.

Cross-reactive immune responses against Mycobacterium bovis BCG in mice infected with non-tuberculous mycobacteria belonging to the MAIS-Group.

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1
Department of Virology, Pasteur Institute of Brussels, Belgium.

Abstract

Two bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-susceptible mouse strains, BALB/c and C57BL/6, were infected intravenously with Mycobacterium intracellulare, M. avium or M. scrofulaceum and monitored during 3 months for mycobacterial replication and antibody and Th1-type cytokine production in response to cytoplasmic and secreted antigens from M. bovis BCG. Whereas initial colony-forming unit (CFU) counts of M. intracellulare and M. avium were higher in lungs than in spleen, the opposite was observed for M. scrofulaceum. Mycobacterium intracellulare was the most virulent species and its replication could not be controlled in either mouse strain. It also induced the strongest antibody response. Mycobacterium avium was eliminated in both mouse strains and M. scrofulaceum finally was eliminated in C57BL/6 but multiplied in spleen from BALB/c mice. Significant sustained interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma production towards BCG antigens was only found in M. scrofulaceum infection. As in BCG-vaccination, M. scrofulaceum-infected C57BL/6 mice demonstrated a higher response towards whole BCG culture filtrate, BCG extract and purified antigen 85 complex (Ag85) from BCG than did BALB/c mice. The data suggest that the presence of M. scrofulaceum in the environment may possibly interfere in genetically predisposed subjects with BCG vaccine and its protective efficacy against M. tuberculosis.

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