Cytokine gene expression was determined in the lungs and spleens of -infected BALB/c mice by means of qualitative and semiquantitative PCR-mediated mRNA amplification. During the acute phase of both primary and secondary infections, cytokines commonly associated with innate resistance, TNFα, IFNγ, IL-1β and IL-6, were expressed. In contrast, early expression of the genes for IL-2 and IL-2 receptor was detected only during reinfection. Expression was greater in the lungs than in the spleen, attesting to the rapid accumulation of lymphocytes at the infected site. Interestingly, IL-2 mRNA expression declined rapidly and was no longer detectable after 24 h, whereas IL-10 mRNA levels rose sharply during the same period. During reinfection, mRNAs for TNFα and IL-6 were 10-fold and for IFNγ about 50-fold higher than during primary challenge. The results suggest that the pathogenesis of diseases may be associated with elevated expression of proinflammatory cytokines.


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