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Development of delayed-type hypersensitivity during Mycobacterium lepraemurium infection in mice.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


Various preparations of Mycobacterium lepraemurium were used to elicit delayed-type hypersensitivity in the footpad of mice infected with this organism. With a sonicated preparation of the mycobacterium, a significant increase in footpad swelling was elicited in mice infected with M. lepraemurium 5 weeks previously, but not in BCG-infected animals or uninfected controls. This footpad reaction was shown to peak at 24 h and to be associated with an infiltration of mononuclear cells. The kinetics of footpad swelling, its association with lymphoproliferation, and its dependence on T lymphocytes were each examined. The results support the hypothesis that this is a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction. The ability to transfer this reactivity to normal mice with cells but not serum offers further confirmation that this hypersensitivity is dependent on cell-mediated immunological mechanisms rather than humoral antibody. The relevance of this to the study of the immunological response of mice to murine leprosy is discussed.

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