Modulation of the rats' immune status by monoassociation with anaerobic bacteria

Carol L Wells, E. Balish

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5 Scopus citations


The capacity of a pure culture of anaerobic intestinal bacteria to influence the host's cellular and humoral immune systems was investigated with germfree, monoassociated, and conventionally reared rats. Monoassociation of germfree rats with Bacteroides fragilis stimulated the production of serum gamma globulin, agglutinating antibodies, and an apparent IgG (immunoelectrophoresis) band. A comparison of the in vitro blastogenic potential of lymphocytes (spleen cells and mesenteric lymph node cells) from germfree, monoassociated, and conventionally reared rats indicated the following: (1) the microbial flora had no obvious effect on the capacity of nonstimulated lymphocytes to incorporate [3H]thymidine; (2) spleen cells from conventionally reared rats responded to phytohemagglutinin, concanavilin A, or pokeweed mitogen better than splenocytes from germfree rats; (3) colonization of germfree rats with Fusobacterium necrophorum increased the responsiveness of splenocytes to photohemagglutinin and concanavilin A; and (4) monoassociation of germfree rats with B. fragilis, but not with F. necrophorum or Propionibacterium acnes, increased splenocyte blastogenesis to homologous (i.e., colonizing) bacterial antigens. This study indicated that some intestinal bacteria can modulate the immune status of the host; the extent and nature of this modulation depended on the particular species of colonizing bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1192-1198
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1980


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