An essential role for interferon γ in resistance to mycobacterium tuberculosis infection

Jo Anne L. Flynn, John Chan, Karla J. Triebold, Dyana K. Dalton, Timothy A. Stewart, Barry R. Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1268 Scopus citations


Tuberculosis, a major health problem in developing countries, has reemerged in recent years in many industrialized countries. The increased susceptibility of immunocompromised individuals to tuberculosis, and many experimental studies indicate that T cell-mediated immunity plays an important role in resistance. The lymphokine interferon γ (IFN-γ) is thought to be a principal mediator of macrophage activation and resistance to intracellular pathogens. Mice have been developed which fail to produce IFN-γ (gko), because of a targeted disruption of the gene for IFN-γ. Upon infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, although they develop granulomas, gko mice fail to produce reactive nitrogen intermediates and are unable to restrict the growth of the bacilli. In contrast to control mice, gko mice exhibit heightened tissue necrosis and succumb to a rapid and fatal course of tuberculosis that could be delayed, but not prevented, by treatment with exogenous recombinant IFN-γ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2249-2254
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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