BALB/c and severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with and the numbers of cfu were monitored for 70 days in spleen, liver, lung, kidney, brain and peritoneum. While BALB/c mice formed typical granulomas and controlled bacterial growth in organs, a delay in development of lesions and a modest containment of infection were observed in SCID mice. In the spleen of BALB/c mice, in which bacterial growth was contained, macrophages (M⊘) and natural killer (NK) cell numbers increased ≥4.2 times and T- and B-cell numbers increased ≥1.8 times after 42 days of infection; conversely, a low recruitment of mononuclear cells was observed in the spleen of SCID mice, where proliferated efficiently. Unlike visceral organs, a pronounced decrease in the number of cfu was observed in the peritoneum of BALB/c mice, concomitantly with a ≥31.7-fold increase in M⊘ and NK cells and a ≥9.1-fold increase in T and B cells. In the peritoneum of SCID mice only a bacteriostatic effect was observed despite a ≥56.7-fold increase in M⊘ and NK cells and a ≥22.3-fold increase in T and B cells. These results suggest that while an intact immune response can efficiently control infection in the spleen and peritoneum of BALB/c mice, cells of the innate immune system such as M⊘ and NK cells play a role in the containment of bacterial growth in the peritoneum, but not spleen, of SCID mice.


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