Chapter 13 : Response of Rabbits to Inhaled Tubercle Bacilli

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The purpose of this chapter is to assemble in one place the characteristics of the disease produced in rabbits by the inhalation of virulent bovine and human types of tubercle bacilli and by the inhalation of BCG. Cavity formation with bronchial spread of the disease followed by death is produced in rabbits only by virulent bovine-type bacilli. Fully virulent bovine-type bacilli usually produced one grossly visible pulmonary tubercle for each inhaled unit of 1 to 3 bacilli that reached the alveolar spaces in both susceptible and resistant inbred Lurie rabbits. In Lurie’s resistant rabbits, virulent bovine-type tubercle bacilli did not multiply to as high a titer as they did in Lurie’s susceptible rabbits. The use of such aerosolized human-type bacilli enabled Lurie to develop his tubercle-count method, which is the most quantitative method for assaying innate and acquired resistance to tuberculosis in rabbits as well as the virulence of the infecting tubercle bacillus. Human-type tubercle bacilli are not fully virulent in rabbits. Most of the inhaled BCG bacilli are apparently destroyed by the alveolar macrophages before they can multiply appreciably. Without such multiplication, the degree of immunization would be negligible. Similar to rabbits, humans should be less immunized by the inhalation of BCG than by parenteral administration, in which higher doses of BCG can be injected and greater bacillary multiplication can occur (because the alveolar macrophages are bypassed).

Citation: Dannenberg, Jr. A. 2006. Response of Rabbits to Inhaled Tubercle Bacilli, p 230-234. In Pathogenesis of Human Pulmonary Tuberculosis. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815684.ch13
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Image of FIGURE 1

Number of virulent human-type and bovine-type tubercle bacilli in the lungs of inbred resistant and susceptible rabbits on various days after airborne infection. Note that bovine-type bacilli multiplied to higher titers than did human-type bacilli, and that both types multiplied to higher titers in susceptible strain C rabbits than they did in resistant strain III rabbits. Reproduced with permission from reference 4.

Citation: Dannenberg, Jr. A. 2006. Response of Rabbits to Inhaled Tubercle Bacilli, p 230-234. In Pathogenesis of Human Pulmonary Tuberculosis. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815684.ch13
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