Genetic Susceptibility to Leishmania: IL-12 Responsiveness in TH1 Cell Development

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Science  16 Feb 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5251, pp. 984-987
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5251.984


The genetic background of T lymphocytes influences development of the T helper (TH) phenotype, resulting in either resistance or susceptibility of certain mouse strains to pathogens such as Leishmania major. With an in vitro model system, a difference in maintenance of responsiveness of T cells to interleukin-12 (IL-12) was detected between BALB/c and B10.D2 mice. Although naïve T cells from both strains initially responded to IL-12, BALB/c T cells lost IL-12 responsiveness after stimulation with antigen in vitro, even when cocultured with B10.D2 T cells. Thus, susceptibility of BALB/c mice to infection with L. major may derive from the loss of the ability to generate IL-12-induced TH1 responses rather than from an IL-4-induced TH2 response.

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