Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 7959868
Immunology 1994 Jul;82(3):361-4
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) has been shown to regulate numerous functions of the immune system including the differentiation of T-cell subpopulations. Here we examined the involvement of this cytokine in the in vivo generation of a population of T cells able to protect mice against mycobacterial infections. BALB/c mice were infected intravenously with Mycobacterium avium 2447 and anti-IL-6 monoclonal antibodies were administered intraperitoneally throughout the course of the infection. Control mice were able to control the mycobacterial proliferation 1 month after inoculation, whereas mice whose IL-6 had been blocked showed progressive bacterial growth. To distinguish a role for IL-6 associated to the induction or expression of immunity mediated by T cells, we immunized mice with M. bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) Pasteur and challenged them 2 months later with M. avium. One group of mice received anti-IL-6 during the BCG vaccination and another during the M. avium challenge. When M. avium proliferation was assessed at day 30 of the challenge, it was found that the administration of anti-IL-6 during vaccination reduced the protection afforded by BCG compared to administration of the isotype control antibody. No difference in bacterial proliferation was observed at day 30 of challenge when antibodies were administered during M. avium challenge. Our results show that protective T cells arise during M. avium infections in mice after differentiating in the presence of IL-6.