RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Early pathogenesis of infection in the liver with the facultative intracellular bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, Francisella tularensis, and Salmonella typhimurium involves lysis of infected hepatocytes by leukocytes.

The results show that Listeria monocytogenes, Francisella tularensis, and Salmonella typhimurium are facultative intracellular bacteria with a capacity to invade and grow in nonphagocytic cells in vivo. In the liver, all of these pathogens were seen to invade and to multiply extensively in hepatocytes. In all three cases, inflammatory phagocytes were rapidly marshalled to foci of infection where they appeared to cause the destruction of infected hepatocytes, thereby releasing bacteria into the extracellular space, in which presumably they could be ingested and destroyed by the phagocytes. If phagocytic cells were prevented from accumulating at foci of liver infection by treatment of the mice with a monoclonal antibody (NIMP-R10) directed against the type 3 complement receptor of myelomonocytic cells, then lysis of hepatocytes failed to occur and bacteria proliferated unrestrictedly within them. Under these circumstances, otherwise sublethal infections became rapidly lethal. These findings strongly suggest that lysis of infected hepatocytes by phagocytic cells is an important general early-defense strategy against liver infection with at least three different intracellular bacteria.

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