Infection with blood-borne Listeria monocytogenes results in their early uptake by the liver. Foci of hepatocytes become heavily infected and develop into microabscesses. Infection results in apoptosis of the hepatocytes. This is particularly evident in the edge of the microabscess, where hepatocytes are not yet destroyed by the neutrophil. It is also apparent when neutrophils are depleted from the circulation. Infection of hepatocytes in culture induces their death by apoptosis with the release of neutrophil chemoattractants. Cytokines do not reduce the multiplication of Listeria in cultured hepatocytes. This study calls attention to an early program of inflammation induced in infected cells that are unresponsive to cytokines.

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