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Keywords:

  • Coxiella burnetii;
  • infection;
  • aging;
  • granuloma;
  • cytokine

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of age on infection with Coxiella burnetii, the agent of Q fever. Bacterial burden and granuloma number were increased in the spleens of 14-month-old as compared with 1-month-old mice. This increase was not the result of an anti-inflammatory macrophage response, because inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines were induced in macrophages from young mice but were repressed in mature mice. In addition, macrophage microbicidal competence was similar in mature and young mice. These results suggest the importance of individual host factors in the pathophysiology of an infectious disease such as Q fever.