Front Microbiol 2019 3;10:693. Epub 2019 Apr 3.
Mycobacteria Research Laboratories, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States.
Infections caused by complex (MAC) species are increasing worldwide, resulting in a serious public health problem. Patients with MAC lung disease face an arduous journey of a prolonged multidrug regimen that is often poorly tolerated and associated with relatively poor outcome. Identification of new animal models that demonstrate a similar pulmonary pathology as humans infected with MAC has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of nontuberculosis mycobacteria (NTM) pathogenesis as well as provide a tractable model for screening candidate compounds for therapy. One new mouse model is the C3HeB/FeJ which is similar to MAC patients in that these mice can form foci of necrosis in granulomas. In this study, we evaluated the ability of C3HeB/FeJ mice exposure to an aerosol infection of a rough strain of MAC 2285 to produce a progressive infection resulting in small necrotic foci during granuloma formation. C3HeB/FeJ mice were infected with MAC and demonstrated a progressive lung infection resulting in an increase in bacterial burden peaking around day 40, developed micronecrosis in granulomas and was associated with increased influx of CD4 Th1, Th17, and Treg lymphocytes into the lungs. However, during chronic infection around day 50, the bacterial burden plateaued and was associated with the reduced influx of CD4 Th1, Th17 cells, and increased numbers of Treg lymphocytes and necrotic foci during granuloma formation. These results suggest the C3HeB/FeJ MAC infection mouse model will be an important model to evaluate immune pathogenesis and compound efficacy.