Induction of nonspecific resistance to Schistosoma mansoni infection after the i.v. injection of viable BCG was investigated in outbred mice and a panel of inbred and H-2 congenic strains. Significant protection was induced in CF1, A/J, C57BL/6, C57BL/10, DBA/2, C57BR, and SJL mice. BALB/c mice were not protected whereas CBA and C3H mice expressed intermediate degrees of protection. Expression of the protective phenomenon is not controlled by genes within the MHC as shown by the marked differences in response between BALB/c and DBA/2 (H-2d) as well as between C57BR and C3H (H-2k) mice. H-2 congenic strains with C57BL/10 background (B10.A and B10.D2) were high responders. BALB.B10 mice carrying the high responder (B10) MHC on the nonresponder (BALB/c) background were not protected. The degree of splenic hypertrophy did not correlate with the expression of nonspecific resistance. These results demonstrate that, in addition to controlling specific immune responses, genetic differences influence the nonspecific protective phenomena related to BCG administration as well.


This work was supported by Grant AI-08163 from the United States Public Health Service, Grant GA HS 7704 from the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health Training Grant 5T32GM07250.

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