A suspension of heat-killed Mycobacterium tuberculosis in liquid paraffin has been reported to induce foot swelling accompanied by new bone formation in Buffalo (BUF) rats, which are low responders to the induction of adjuvant arthritis. In the present study, we found that wax D, a mycobacterial cell wall peptidoglycan fragment-arabinogalactan-mycolic acid complex, was an effective component of this bacterium for the induction of osteomyelitis accompanied by reactive bone formation in BUF rats. Chronic inflammation was produced in BUF rats by a single subcutaneous injection of wax D suspended in liquid paraffin. Other Mycobacterium species and Gordona bronchialis were also capable of inducing this reaction. Other bacterial cells including the acid-fast bacteria Nocardia and Rhodococcus, purified cell walls and peptidoglycans from Lactobacillus plantarum, wax C, cord factor, arabinogalactan and mycolic acid prepared from M. tuberculosis were inactive in this respect. In addition, when wax D was administered as a water-in-oil emulsion (Freund's type adjuvant), bone formation scarcely occurred in BUF rats. In Fisher (F344) and Wistar rats, both of which are responder strains to adjuvant arthritis, wax D in liquid paraffin did not induce bone formation. Copyright (C) 1998 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.
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