Mice that lack the interferon-gamma receptor have profoundly altered responses to infection with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin and subsequent challenge with lipopolysaccharide
Mice with a targeted disruption of the interferon gamma receptor gene (IFN-gamma R0/0 mice) and control wild-type mice were inoculated with the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) strain of Mycobacterium bovis. BCG infection was not lethal for wild-type mice whereas all IFN-gamma R0/0 mice died approximately 7-9 wk after inoculation. Histological examination at 2 and 6 wk after BCG inoculation showed that livers of IFN-gamma R0/0 mice had higher numbers of acid-fast bacteria than wild-type mice, especially at 6 wk. In parallel, the livers of IFN-gamma R0/0 mice showed a reduction in the formation of characteristic granulomas at 2 wk after inoculation. Injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) 2 wk after BCG inoculation was significantly less lethal for IFN-gamma R0/0 mice than for wild-type mice. Reduced lethality of LPS correlated with a drastically reduced production of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) in the IFN-gamma R0/0 mice. Interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1 alpha) and IL-6 levels in the serum were also significantly reduced in the IFN-gamma R0/0 mice after BCG infection and LPS challenge. The greatly reduced capacity of BCG-infected IFN-gamma R0/0 mice to produce TNF-alpha may be an important factor in their inability to resist BCG infection. These results show that the presence of a functional IFN-gamma receptor is essential for the recovery of mice from BCG infection, and that IFN-gamma is a key element in the complex process whereby BCG infection leads to the sensitization to endotoxin.
Department of Microbiology, Kaplan Cancer Center, New York University Medical Center, New York 10016.
Record created on 2007-12-12, modified on 2016-08-08