Claus Munck Petersen

Pneumocystis carinii-induced activation of the respiratory burst in human monocytes and macrophages

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Human monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages were studied for their ability to phagocytose Pneumocystis carinii and produce superoxide (O2-) during the process. One x 10(6) freshly isolated monocytes, incubated with 0.1-3.75 x 10(6) P. carinii cysts, increased O2- production in a dose-related way. Antibodies were essential for the process since opsonized, but not unopsonized, pneumocysts induced O2- production significantly above the response obtained by lung tissue from rats (10.7 and 4.9 versus 3.0 fmol/cell per 90 min). The difference between pneumocysts opsonized in untreated versus complement-depleted serum was not significant (10.7 versus 12.6 fmol/cell per 90 min). Monocyte-derived macrophages also activated the respiratory burst when stimulated with pneumocysts, and this effect could be significantly increased, from 4.2 to 8.8 fmol/cell per 90 min, when cells were primed with interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). Cells primed with IL-3 also increased O2- production, though to a lesser extent. In contrast, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) had only a small effect on the respiratory burst in cells stimulated with P. carinii. Priming with IFN-gamma increased the rate of phagocytosis in macrophages. After incubation for 90 min or more, however, the percentage of cells with phagocytic vacuoles was only slightly higher in IFN-gamma-primed cells. When examined by electron microscopy (EM), most vacuoles contained partially or totally degraded pneumocysts. In conclusion, we have demonstrated the ability of monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages to ingest and degrade pneumocysts, activating the respiratory burst during the process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Volume98
Issue2
Pages (from-to)196-202
Number of pages7
ISSN0009-9104
Publication statusPublished - 1994

    Research areas

  • Animals, Cells, Cultured, Humans, Macrophages, Male, Monocytes, Opsonin Proteins, Pneumocystis, Pneumocystis Infections, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Respiratory Burst, Superoxides

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