Mycobacterium abscessus has been identified as an emerging pulmonary pathogen in humans. Because little is known regarding immune responses elicited by M. abscessus or its antigens, immunological responses were studied in two murine models subjected to intravenous (high-dose or systemic infection) or pulmonary (low-dose or local infection) inoculation with M. abscessus ATCC 19977. An overall comparison between the two models showed similar patterns of bacterial survival and host immune responses. The colonization of M. abscessus was the highest at 5 days post-infection (dpi) and its elimination was positively correlated with cell-mediated immunity in both challenges. However, an inverse relationship was observed between progressive inflammation and mycobacterial colonization levels in mice infected with a high dose at 14 dpi. Regarding antigens, culture filtrate (CF) of M. abscessus strongly induced IFN-γ secretion, whereas cellular extract (CE) antigen elicited strong antibody responses. The antibody response to M. abscessus antigens in mice subjected to low-dose infection increased when the cellular immune response decreased over 14 dpi. However, the antibody response for the high-dose infection increased promptly after the infection. In comparison of cytokine expression in lung homogenates after M. abscessus infection, Thl and Th2 cytokines increased simultaneously in the high-dose infection, whereas only cell-mediated immunity developed in the low-dose pulmonary infection. These findings not only enhance our understanding of the immune response to M. abscessus infection according to systemic or pulmonary infection, but may also aid in immunological diagnosis and vaccine development.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded by a grant from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) through the Infection Signaling Network Research Center (R13-2007-020-01000-0) at Chungnam National University, and by an additional KOSEF grant through the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST; Grant# R01-2007-000-10702-0).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology