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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Endogenous interleukin-12 is not required for resolution of Chlamydophila abortus (Chlamydia psittaci serotype 1) infection in mice.

A Th1 immune response involving gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) production is required to eliminate Chlamydophila abortus infections. In this study, the role of interleukin-12 (IL-12) in protecting against C. abortus infection was investigated using IL-12(-/-) and wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 mice to determine the role of this Th1-promoting cytokine. IL-12(-/-) mice were able to eliminate the C. abortus infection in a primary infection. However, there was a delay in the clearance of bacteria when IL-12(-/-) mice were infected with a sublethal dose of C. abortus, the delay being associated with a lower production of IFN-gamma. The low level of IFN-gamma was essential for survival of IL-12(-/-) infected mice. Both WT and IL-12(-/-) mice developed a Th1 immune response against C. abortus infection, since they both produced IFN-gamma and immunoglobulin G2a antibody isotype. In addition, when mice were given a secondary infectious challenge with C. abortus, a protective host response which resolved the secondary infection was developed by both WT and IL-12(-/-) mice. The lack of IL-12 resulted in few infiltrating CD4(+) T cells in the liver relative to the number in WT mice, although the number of CD8(+) T cells was slightly higher. The more intense Th1 response presented by WT mice may have a pathogenic effect, as the animals showed higher morbidity after the infection. In conclusion, these results suggest that although IL-12 expedites the clearance of C. abortus infection, this cytokine is not essential for the establishment of a protective host response against the infection.[1]


  1. Endogenous interleukin-12 is not required for resolution of Chlamydophila abortus (Chlamydia psittaci serotype 1) infection in mice. Del Río, L., Buendía, A.J., Sánchez, J., Gallego, M.C., Caro, M.R., Ortega, N., Seva, J., Pallarés, F.J., Cuello, F., Salinas, J. Infect. Immun. (2001) [Pubmed]
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