The role of peritoneal macrophages induced by Bacillus Calmete-Guérin (BCG) in the induction of immune responses to Listeria monocytogenes was studied in mice. The peritoneal macrophages from mice treated with BCG 14 days previously contained a high proportion of Ia-bearing macrophages (approximately 56%) and the cells showed not only a high level of listericidal activity but also a strong ability for presentation of listerial antigen to Listeria-immune T cells. An intraperitoneal inoculation with a low dose of Listeria, which can induce the maximal level of delayed footpad reaction (DFR) and positive migration inhibitory activity of macrophages in untreated mice, did not induce a detectable level of such responses in BCG-treated mice. The bacterial growth at an early stage of infection was suppressed by scavenger macrophages in these mice. On the other hand, BCG-treated mice showed the early development of DFR and macrophage migration inhibitory activity after an inoculation with a high dose of Listeria. It is revealed in transfer experiments that Listeria-pulsed peritoneal exudate cells induced by BCG elicited the highest level of DFR and positive migration inhibition of macrophages in normal mice at the earlier period of injection compared with Listeria-pulsed resident peritoneal cells. These results suggested that the increased activities of macrophages acting as scavenger cells and as antigenpresenting cells play important roles in the modification of immune responses to Listeria in BCG-treated mice.
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