Treatment of mice with a rat mAb (5C6) specific for an epitope of the type 3 complement receptor of myelomonocytic cells severely interfered with the ability of the mice to resist infection with Listeria monocytogenes. Consequently, a sublethal infection was rapidly converted to a lethal one that resulted in death in 5 d. However, infection was only exacerbated if 5C6 was given earlier in infection, before mononuclear phagocytes populated sites of Listeria implantation in the liver and spleen. If given after day 3 of infection, 5C6 caused only a temporary increase in bacterial multiplication. The infection-enhancing effect of 5C6 was associated with failure of mice to focus mononuclear phagocytes at sites of bacterial multiplication of Listeria in liver hepatocytes and extracellulary in the spleen. This resulted in unrestricted multiplication of Listeria in hepatocytes and extracellularly in the spleen. The results are in keeping with the ability of 5C6 to inhibit the accumulation of myelomonocytic cells in peritoneal inflammatory exudates, as revealed by a previous study.

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