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Mononuclear-macrophages but not neutrophils act as major infiltrating anti-leptospiral phagocytes during leptospirosis.

  • Author(s): Chen, Xu
  • Li, Shi-Jun
  • Ojcius, David M
  • Sun, Ai-Hua
  • Hu, Wei-Lin
  • Lin, Xu'ai
  • Yan, Jie
  • et al.

To identify the major infiltrating phagocytes during leptospirosis and examine the killing mechanism used by the host to eliminate Leptospira interrogans.Major infiltrating phagocytes in Leptospira-infected C3H/HeJ mice were detected by immunohistochemistry. Chemokines and vascular endothelial cell adhesion molecules (VECAMs) of Leptospira-infected mice and leptospirosis patients were detected by microarray and immunohistochemistry. Leptospira-phagocytosing and -killing abilities of human or mouse macrophages and neutrophils, and the roles of intracellular ROS, NO and [Ca2+]i in Leptospira-killing process were evaluated by confocal microscopy and spectrofluorimetry.Peripheral blood mononuclear-macrophages rather than neutrophils were the main infiltrating phagocytes in the lungs, liver and kidneys of infected mice. Levels of macrophage- but not neutrophil-specific chemokines and VECAMs were significantly increased in the samples from infected mice and patients. All macrophages tested had a higher ability than neutrophils to phagocytose and kill leptospires. Higher ROS and NO levels and [Ca2+]i in the macrophages were involved in killing leptospires. Human macrophages displayed more phagolysosome formation and a stronger leptospire-killing ability to than mouse macrophages.Mononuclear-macrophages but not neutrophils represent the main infiltrating and anti-leptospiral phagocytes during leptospirosis. A lower level of phagosome-lysosome fusion may be responsible for the lower Leptospira-killing ability of human macrophages.

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