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Adequate Expression Of Protective Immunity In The Absence Of Granuloma Formation In Mycobacterium Tuberculosis-Infected Mice With A Disruption In The Intracellular Adhesion Molecule 1 Gene

Christine M. Johnson, Andrea M. Cooper, Anthony A. Frank, Ian M. Orme

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ABSTRACT It remains unknown whether the expression of cell-mediated protective immunity and the capacity to mount a delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction in tuberculosis infection represent two manifestations of a basic response or are dissociable events. In this study, we present data in favor of the latter hypothesis, by showing that tuberculosis infection in the lungs of mice possessing only a truncated form of intracellular adhesion molecule 1 due to gene disruption was still adequately controlled by the expression of protective immunity in the absence of any sustained influx of macrophages and the lack of formation of appreciable granulomas. These animals also had no detectable DTH response to mycobacterial proteins in the footpad assay, indicating that the accumulation of blood-borne macrophages at sites of mycobacterial infection or antigen deposition is not essential to control of the infection. These data support the hypothesis that the DTH component of the cellular response is not protective but contributes by walling off the sites of infection to prevent dissemination and reactivation disease.