Immunosuppression induced by attenuated Salmonella: Reversal by IL-4

Basel K. Al-Ramadi, Yung Wu Chen, Joseph J. Meissler, Toby K. Eisenstein

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38 Citations (Scopus)


We previously demonstrated that an aroA- strain of Salmonella typhimurium, which provides excellent protection against virulent Salmonella challenge, also rendered immunized mice unable to mount in vivo and in vitro antibody responses to heterologous Ag. Coculture studies using transwell plates indicated that suppression was mediated by soluble factors. The suppressive cells were identified as belonging to the monocytic lineage. Macrophage precursors as well as mature adherent macrophages mediated the observed suppression. In the present study, the mechanism of immunosuppression was investigated. Suppression was found to be genetically nonrestricted as spleen cells from immunized C3HeB/FeJ mice (H-2k) suppressed the anti-SRBC plaque-forming cell (PFC) responses of normal spleen cells from two MHC noncompatible mouse strains, BALB/c (H-2d) and C57BL/6 (H-2b). Time course experiments demonstrated that the addition of spleen cells from immunized mice to normal splenocytes as late as day 4 of a 5-day assay was still markedly suppressive. Furthermore, suppression of the PFC responses was accompanied by a profound inhibition of the capacity of immune splenocytes to produce IL-2 in response to in vitro stimulation by Con A. Coculture studies showed that immune spleen cells were able to suppress IL-2 production by normal splenocytes in a dose-dependent fashion. However, the suppressed PFC responses of immune spleen cells could not be reversed by the exogenous addition of up to 200 U/ml of IL-2, suggesting that immune splenocytes are also defective in their ability to respond to IL-2. In marked contrast, suppression of PFC responses was reduced by more than 50% by the addition of as little as 1 U/ml of IL-4 and was completely abrogated when 5 U/ml of IL-4 were added to in vitro cultures of spleen cells from immunized mice. The antisuppressive action of IL-4 appeared to be via its inhibitory effect on activated macrophages. The implications of the above findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1954-1961
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 15 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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