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Interleukin-12 is required for control of the growth of attenuated aromatic-compound-dependent salmonellae in BALB/c mice: Role of gamma interferon and macrophage activation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Julia Harrison, Professor John Robinson, Professor Carlos Hormaeche


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The attenuated S. typhimurium SL3261 (aroA) strain causes mild infections in BALB/c mice. We were able to exacerbate the disease by administering anti-interleukin-12 (IL-12) antibodies, resulting in bacterial counts in the spleens and livers of anti-IL-12-treated mice that were 10- to 100-fold higher than the ones normally observed in premortem mice; yet the animals showed only mild signs of illness. Nevertheless, they eventually died of a slow, progressive disease. Mice infected with salmonellae become hypersusceptible to endotoxin. We found that IL-12 neutralization prevented the death of infected mice following subcutaneous injection of lipopolysaccharide, Granulomatous lesions developed in the spleens and livers of control animals, as opposed to a widespread infiltration of mononuclear cells seen in the organs of anti-IL-12-treated mice. In the latter (heavily infected), salmonellae were seen within mononuclear cells, indicating an impairment of the bactericidal or bacteriostatic ability of the phagocytes in the absence of biologically active IL-12. Gamma interferon (IFN-γ) levels were reduced in the sera and tissue homogenates from anti-IL-12-treated mice compared to those in control animals. Furthermore, fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis on spleen cells showed that IL-12 neutralization impaired the upregulation of I-A(d)/I-E(d) antigens on macrophages from infected mice, Inducible nitric Oxide synthase and IFN-γ mRNA production was down-regulated in anti-IL-12-treated mice, which also showed an increased production of IL-10 mRNA and a decrease in nitric oxide synthase activity in the tissues. Administration of recombinant IFN-γ to anti-IL-12-treated mice was able to restore host resistance, granuloma formation, and expression of major histocompatibility complex class II antigens in F4/80+ and CD11b+ spleen cells.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mastroeni P, Harrison JA, Robinson JH, Clare S, Khan S, Maskell DJ, Dougan G, Hormaeche CE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Infection and Immunity

Year: 1998

Volume: 66

Issue: 10

Pages: 4767-4776

Print publication date: 01/01/1998

ISSN (print): 0019-9567

ISSN (electronic): 1070-6313

Publisher: American Society for Microbiology

PubMed id: 9746577