Susceptibility to tuberculosis: Composition of tuberculous granulomas in Thorbecke and outbred New Zealand White rabbits

Susana Mendez, Christine L. Hatem, Anup K. Kesavan, Javier Lopez-Molina, M. Louise M. Pitt, Arthur M. Dannenberg, Yukari C. Manabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We sought to characterize the lung cellular immune responses to inhaled Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) of the susceptible inbred Thorbecke rabbit (the genomically sequenced strain, now unavailable) and compare it to outbred, Mtb-resistant, New Zealand White rabbits. Using Mtb CDC1551, we confirmed that the inbred rabbits allowed establishment of infection with this low virulence strain, compared to poor establishment in outbred rabbits. With a more virulent strain, Mtb Erdman, that establishes infection well in both rabbit strains, we analyzed granulomas from rabbit lungs 5 weeks after aerosol infection. The lung granulomas of inbred rabbits had significantly higher frequencies of cells expressing MHC Class II and CD11b, and lower frequencies of CD8+ T cells than the outbred controls. Macrophage-sized cells expressing MHC Class II in inbred rabbit granulomas showed significantly decreased intensity of expression, suggesting impaired maturation. Although the inbred dermal tuberculin reactions were decreased, the in vitro IFN-γ mRNA responses of hilar node lymphocytes to tuberculin were higher than those of outbred rabbits. Further delineation of the outbred rabbit's resistant immune response to Mtb infection is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2008


  • Animal model
  • Dendritic cell
  • Host susceptibility
  • Rabbit
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)


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