Studies were made on the effects of in vivo administration of anti-CD4 mAb, anti-CD8 mAb, or a combination of both mAbs on multiplication of bacteria, the levels of serum transaminases, and mortality in mice infected with Listeria monocytogenes. Results showed that in sublethal infection, CD8+ cells enhanced the peak of bacterial multiplication and liver cell necrosis, and CD4+ cells suppressed CD8+ cell-mediated enhancement. Results also showed that either CD4+ or CD8+ cells were necessary for, and capable of, mediating clearance of the bacteria. CD8+ cells were more efficient than CD4+ cells, but for optimal clearance both were necessary. In lethal listeriosis, treatment of mice with anti-CD8 mAb or a combination of both anti-CD4 and anti-CD8 mAbs, but not anti-CD4 mAb only, protected mice from death by decreasing multiplication of bacteria in the liver and spleen after a peak of approximately 10(8) CFU, and lowering the elevated serum levels of transaminases. These findings indicated that CD8+ cells were responsible for causing irreversible systemic Listeria infection and severe liver necrosis. In lethal listeriosis, administration of rMuIFN-gamma markedly prolonged survival by decreasing multiplication of bacteria and promoting recovery from liver necrosis.

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