A new small animal model of experimental Legionnaires′ disease is described in which the reconstitution of SCID-Beige mice with human peripheral blood leucocytes permits the in-vivo growth of in the lungs of aerosol-challenged mice. Following infection, viable bacterial counts within the lungs of mice increased from 10 cfu/lung at the time of inoculation to a maximum of 10 cfu/lung by 48 h post-inoculation. Two types of disease were detected in the lungs of infected SCID-Beige mice. An acute exudative bronchiolitis and bronchopneumonia were seen in the most severely affected mice and, in the less severely affected mice, lesions of subacute or chronic disease were seen with thickening of alveolar walls and consolidation of lung tissue. Human cells did not appear to be involved directly in the pathology but were required for the establishment of infection. Immunohistological staining of lung tissue revealed substantial amounts of bacterial antigen distributed in a pattern similar to that seen in human Legionnaires′ disease.


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