The mechanisms responsible for the resistance of C57BL/6 mice and for the susceptibility of BALB/c mice to infection with Listeria monocytogenes were studied by comparing early IL-12 and IL-15 production by dendritic cells (DC) after infection with L. monocytogenes. Splenic DC expressing CD11b(low) and CD11c+ obtained from C57BL/6 mice at 3 and 6 h after L. monocytogenes infection expressed higher levels of IL-12 p40 mRNA and IL-12 p40 protein than did those from BALB/c mice. Concurrently, a larger amount of IFN-γ was produced by the splenic T cells from C57BL/6 mice in response to immobilized anti-TCRαβ mAb than by those from BALB/c mice, while the splenic T cells from BALB/c mice produced a higher level of IL-4 upon TCR αβ stimulation than did those of C57BL/6 mice. IL-15 mRNA and intracellular IL-15 protein were detected more abundantly in the DC from C57BL/6 mice than in those from BALB/c mice on day 3 after infection. CD3+ IL2Rβ + cells in the spleen were increased in C57BL/6 mice but not in BALB/c mice at the early stage after infection. Furthermore, IL-12Rβ2 gene expression was up-regulated in T cells from C57BL/6 mice but not in those from BALB/c mice at the early stage after listerial infection. These results suggest that the difference in early production of IL-12 and IL-15 by DC may at least partly underlie the difference in susceptibility to L. monocytogenes between C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
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