Treponemal infection specifically enhances node T-cell regulation of macrophage activity
Infection and Immunity
Hamsters experimentally inoculated in the inguinal region with Treponema pallidum subsp. endemicum develop considerable pathology at that site. We examined the cell populations from these inguinal lymph nodes to determine their intercellular responses to infection. In vitro, syphilitic-node T cells markedly suppressed C3b receptor-mediated ingestion (C3bMI) in syphilitic macrophages derived from sites both proximal and distal to the inoculation. This activity was more pronounced when node T
... ced when node T cells rather than peritoneal T cells were used. When treponemal preparations or live treponemes were added to the coculture system, the suppression was specifically enhanced, whereas the addition of heterologous agents did not promote this effect. Syphilitic macrophages from either compartment cultured alone showed no significant inhibition of C3bMI. In parallel studies on syphilitic macrophages, we observed that the expression of Ia quickly became elevated and was sustained throughout the infection. Moreover, in vitro culturing of the syphilitic-node T cells with these macrophages did not alter this function. These observations suggest that the syphilitic node contains a subpopulation of T cells that can selectively suppress macrophage C3bMI activity and concurrently regulate their cellular response to treponemal infection. ently produces chronic lesions that persist for 6 to 9 months (39).