Effects of immunomodulators on liquefaction and ulceration in the rabbit skin model of tuberculosis

Hongjia Sun, Xingming Ma, Guoping Zhang, Yanping Luo, Kefeng Tang, Xiaofa Lin, Hongjuan Yu, Ying Zhang, Bingdong Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


To better control tuberculosis (TB) epidemics in developing countries a real need exists to study the liquefaction and cavity formation that occur in pulmonary TB lesions. This report is the first to evaluate the effects of immunomodulators on these two processes in a rabbit skin model. The effects of recombinant human interferon-γ (rIFN-γ), recombinant human interleukin-2 (rIL-2), dexamethasone and cyclophosphamide (CTX) were evaluated in TB lesions produced by intradermal injection of 5 × 10 6 viable BCG bacilli. Recombinant IL-2 and rIFN-γ accelerated the liquefaction and healing of the lesions, and reduced the bacterial load. In contrast, dexamethasone inhibited the liquefaction of the lesions, and increased the bacterial load. The effect of CTX was similar to dexamethasone but not as pronounced. Serum levels of IL-2 were higher during the liquefaction and healing phases in the rIL-2 and rIFN-γ groups. Therefore, immunomodulators affect both the development of TB lesions and the survival of the mycobacteria within them. This study suggests that the rabbit skin model can be a valuable method to select therapeutic agents that could inhibit liquefaction and cavity formation in pulmonary tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-350
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • BCG lesions
  • Immunomodulation in TB
  • TB cavity formation
  • TB liquefaction
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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