Liver Necrosis and Lethal Systemic Inflammation in a Murine Model of Rickettsia typhi Infection: Role of Neutrophils, Macrophages and NK Cells
We previously reported that resting mouse peritoneal macrophages (PM) constitutively express low levels of IFN-gamma, whose production is consistently enhanced by exogenous IFN-gamma. In this study, we investigated the effects of IL-12 on the replication of vesicular stomatitis virus and on IFN-gamma gene expression in mouse PM. The addition of IL-12 to freshly explanted PM resulted in the persistence of an antiviral state to vesicular stomatitis virus, while control PM progressively became permissive for virus replication after 3 to 4 days in culture. The IL-12-induced antiviral state was inhibited by Abs to IFN-gamma, suggesting that endogenous IFN-gamma was largely responsible for this antiviral response. Moreover, IL-12 induced a consistent secretion of IFN-gamma, especially in cultured PM. The IL-1 2-induced antiviral state and IFN-gamma production were observed using PM from various strains of mice, including LPS-defective C3H/HeJ, NK-deficient bg/bg, DBA/2, Swiss (CD1), and Swiss nude mice treated or not with anti-asialo GM1 Abs. A 4-h treatment with IL-12 was sufficient to induce a marked accumulation of IFN-gamma mRNA, which was greater in cultured PM than in freshly harvested cells. Lastly, immunofluorescence studies in IL-12-stimulated macrophages clearly showed an enhancement of immunoreactive IFN-gamma compared with basal levels in cells exhibiting a macrophage (i.e., F4/80-positive) phenotype. Together, these findings demonstrate that IL-12 can directly stimulate mouse PM to produce IFN-gamma. We suggest that IL-12-induced IFN-gamma production by macrophages can play some role in the generation of the antiviral and immunoregulatory effects of IL-12.