Gene knockout B cell-deficient mice demonstrate that B cells play an important role in the initiation of T cell responses to Chlamydia trachomatis (mouse pneumonitis) lung infection

X Yang, R C Brunham
Journal of Immunology 1998 August 1, 161 (3): 1439-46
T cell-mediated immunity as measured by delayed-type hypersensitivity, and IFN-gamma production has been shown to be critical for host defense against Chlamydia trachomatis infection in both human and animal studies. Using gene-targeted B cell-deficient mice, we examined the role of B cells in protective immunity to C. trachomatis (mouse pneumonitis) (MoPn) lung infection. B cell-deficient mice were observed to have a significantly higher mortality rate and in vivo chlamydial growth than did wild-type mice following MoPn lung infection. Interestingly, B cell-deficient mice not only lacked Ab responses but also failed to mount an efficient delayed-type hypersensitivity response following chlamydial lung infection. In contrast to results obtained from MoPn-infected wild-type C57BL/6 mice, spleen cells from infected B cell-deficient mice failed to produce Th1-related (IFN-gamma) or Th2-related (IL-6 and IL-10) cytokines after Chlamydia-specific in vitro restimulation. Moreover, unlike wild-type mice, B cell-deficient mice were not immune to rechallenge infection following recovery from primary chlamydial infection. The data indicate that B cells play an important role in host defense to primary and secondary chlamydial infection and suggest that B cells are crucial for the initiation of early T cell responses to chlamydial infection. This study provides evidence for the role of B cells in the in vivo priming of T cells during infection with the intracellular bacterial pathogen, C. trachomatis.

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