On the basis of earlier observations dealing with the relation of a petroleum ether-soluble material (cord factor) obtained from young cultures of virulent tubercle bacilli to the pathogenicity of these organisms, it was expected that young cultures yielding more cord factor than older ones of the same strain would also be more virulent for susceptible animals. By infecting mice with equal numbers of bacteria from 3 day and 3 week old cultures, significant differences in the character of disease produced were observed. The mice infected with the younger cultures died of a rapid, septicemic infection with tuberculous lesions in many organs including the heart. A tuberculous myocarditis was probably the immediate cause of death. Mice infected with the older bacteria died of a chronic disease corresponding to the well known mouse tuberculosis. In these cases, the heart was completely free of lesions. No histologic tissue reactions typical of tuberculosis were seen in the animals dying from the acute type of the disease. A similar rapidly progressing infection was observed in rabbits infected with bacteria from young cultures. The symptoms corresponded to the ones seen in the disease known as the Yersin type of tuberculosis. It seems that the pathology of this latter can be produced with every type of pathogenic mycobacteria, human as well as bovine and avian, provided the cultures used are young. Thus it may be inferred that the acute type of tuberculosis is more frequent than commonly accepted both in experimental infection and in the naturally occurring disease. It is proposed to explain the mechanism of this acute infection within the framework of the cord factor hypothesis.

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