serotype O9 may cause a persistent intestinal infection with few or no symptoms in humans and in BALB/c mice. The present study demonstrated profound alterations in the immune status of BALB/c mice infected with O9. Infected mice developed splenomegaly and phenotypic analysis of spleen cells revealed increases in CD3 total T cells, CD4 helper T cells, CD8 cytotoxic T cells and CD11b phagocytic cells. Spleen cells from infected mice exhibited impaired responses to mitogens and suppressed the proliferation of normal splenocytes in response to mitogens. Suppression of responses to concanavalin A and heat-killed yersiniae was associated with increased production of gamma interferon and reactive nitrogen intermediates. -infected mice resisted challenge with a lethal dose of the intracellular pathogen . These findings suggest that infection of mice with O9 induces gamma-interferon-secreting cells that promote macrophage activation, mediating resistance to infection with , and macrophage production of reactive nitrogen intermediates, which results in inhibition of lymphocyte response to mitogens.


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