Antimicrobial properties of Kupffer cells

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To characterize the antimicrobial activities of Kupffer cells, I harvested macrophages from livers with a technique involving perfusion with collagenase and DNase. Ninety-nine percent of glass-adherent cells had typical macrophage morphology, 99% were esterase positive, and 60% phagocytosed opsonized zymosan when challenged with four particles per macrophage. Toxoplasma gondii multiplied within Kupffer cells from unmanipulated mice, but multiplication was intermediate between that observed in highly permissive peritoneal macrophages and highly activated macrophages. Intravenous injection of heat-killed Propionibacterium acnes, a stimulus known to activate macrophages in other compartments, resulted in a uniform, highly activated population of liver macrophages. Kupffer cells from P. acnes-injected mice were capable of generating reactive oxygen intermediates as shown by reduction of Nitro Blue Tetrazolium during phagocytosis of T. gondii or opsonized zymosan. In contrast, intravenous P. acnes injection did not activate spleen macrophages. Intravenous injection of P. acnes into athymic mice activated Kupffer cells, which suggested that T cells were not essential for this response. Kupffer cells were not activated in mice with latent Toxoplasma infection or during acute Giardia muris infection. Ordinarily, Kupffer cells became highly permissive for T. gondii during 48 h in culture, but inclusion of recombinant murine gamma interferon maintained their moderate inhibitory activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1430-1435
Number of pages6
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

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