Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is the causative agent of Johne's disease in animals and has been hypothesized to be associated with Crohn's disease in humans. Recently, M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates recovered from Crohn's disease patients were shown to have limited diversity, implying the existence of human disease-associated genotypes and strain sharing with animals (A. H. Ghadiali et al., J. Clin. Microbiol. 42:5345-5348, 2004). To explore whether these genotypic differences or similarities among human and animal isolates translated to functionally significant attributes such as variance in host preference and/or difference in magnitude of infections, we performed a global scale analysis of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates that were representative of different genotypes and host species using DNA microarrays. Genome-wide characterization of the transcriptional changes was carried out using a human monocytic cell line (THP-1 cells) in response to different genotypes of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates recovered from various hosts. We identified several differentially expressed genes during early intracellular infection, including those involved in common canonical pathways such as NF-κB, interleukin-6 (IL-6), mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and Jun N-terminal protein kinase signaling, as well as genes involved in T helper type 1 (Th1) responses (such as CCL5 ligand) and those that encode several proinflammatory cytokines and chemokine receptors. The cattle and human isolates of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, regardless of their short sequence repeat (SSR) genotype, induced similar global gene expression patterns in THP-1 cells. They differentially regulated genes necessary for cell survival without causing major alterations in proinflammatory genes. In contrast, the sheep isolates representing diverse SSR genotypes closely resembled the global gene expression pattern of an M. avium subsp. avium isolate, and they significantly up-regulated proinflammatory genes related to IL-6, T-cell receptor, B-cell receptor, and death receptor signaling within THP-1 cells. Additionally, we demonstrated consistency among infecting genotypes off M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolated from diverse hosts [cattle (n = 2), human (n = 3), sheep (n = 2), and bison (n = 1)] in quantitative reverse transcription-PCR analysis of seven differentially expressed genes. While the levels of expression induced by the bison isolate were different compared with cattle or human isolates, they followed the common anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic trend. Our data suggest that the macrophage responses to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates from cattle and human sources, regardless of genotype, follow a common theme of anti-inflammatory responses, an attribute likely associated with successful infection and persistence. However, these expression patterns differ significantly from those in TIIP-I cells infected with sheep isolates of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis or the M. avium subsp. avium isolate. These data provide a transcriptional basis for a variety of pathophysiological changes observed during early stages of infection by different strains of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, a first step in understanding trait-allele association in this economically important disease.