Multifunctional, high-level cytokine-producing Th1 cells in the lung, but not spleen, correlate with protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis aerosol challenge in mice.
Forbes EK., Sander C., Ronan EO., McShane H., Hill AVS., Beverley PCL., Tchilian EZ.
Boosting bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-primed mice with a recombinant adenovirus expressing Mycobacterium tuberculosis Ag 85A by different administration routes has very different effects on protection against aerosol challenge with M. tuberculosis. Mice boosted intradermally make very strong splenic CD4 and CD8 Th1 cytokine responses to Ag 85A, but show no change in lung mycobacterial burden over BCG primed animals. In contrast, intranasally boosted mice show greatly reduced mycobacterial burden and make a much weaker splenic response but a very strong lung CD4 and CD8 response to Ag 85A and an increased response to purified protein derivative. This effect is associated with the presence in the lung of multifunctional T cells, with high median fluorescence intensity and integrated median fluorescence intensity for IFN-gamma, IL-2, and TNF. In contrast, mice immunized with BCG alone have few Ag-specific cells in the lung and a low proportion of multifunctional cells, although individual cells have high median fluorescence intensity. Successful immunization regimes appear to induce Ag-specific cells with abundant intracellular cytokine staining.