Groups of 10 young male guinea pigs of inbred strains 2 and 13 and outbred strains Hartley A, Hartley B, and one deficient in the fourth component of complement (C4D) were infected intradermally with 80 X 10(6) Treponema pallidum (Nichols). The course of infection and production of antitreponemal antibody were examined. Strain C4D guinea pigs were the most susceptible to infection (100%); inbred strains 2 and 13 and outbred strain Hartley B showed 80-90% symptomatic infection; and the Hartley A strain was the least susceptible to infection (10%). Strain 13 animals responded with the highest antitreponemal antibody activity, and the Hartley A strain with the lowest. The results suggest that genetic factors or complement, or both, may influence the degree of susceptibility to infection with T pallidum in guinea pigs.
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