Kinetics of interaction and fate of Pasteurella hemolytica in bovine alveolar macrophages

S. K. Maheswaran, K. A. Berggren, R. R. Simonson, G. E. Ward, C. C. Muscoplat

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15 Scopus citations


To study the role of pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAMs) in phagocytizing Pasteurella hemolytica, we developed an in vitro cultivation method for preparing them. This procedure provided an adherent monolayer of PAMs which were nonspecific esterase-positive and phagocytized latex beads. The phagocytosis and fate of P. hemolytica (biotype A, serotype 1) by PAMs in suspension were studied. The kinetics of phagocytosis were determined by quantitatively measuring the presence of normal serum or antiserum. A total of 90% of the bacteria were phagocytized in the presence of normal adult bovine serum, and up to 95% were phagocytized in the presence of an antiserum. These studies also showed that normal serum, but not fetal calf serum, contained heat-stable natural antibodies which readily initiated the opsonization of P. hemolytica. The heat-labile complement system was also involved in the opsonization. The fate of P. hemolytica inside the PAMs was investigated by transmission electron microscopy and by the viable plate count method. Approximately 90% of the normal serum- or antiserum-opsonized P. hemolytica were phagocytized by PAMs at a bacteria/PAM ratio of 20:1 and were completely degraded after 60 min of exposure. Prolonged incubation of this mixture of bacteria and PAMs resulted in cytotoxic changes and destruction of PAMs. At a low bacteria/PAM ratio (10:1 or less), there was phagocytosis and killing of bacteria but no cytotoxic changes on the PAMs. The exact mechanism which initiated this phenomenon was not demonstrated. Perhaps toxic substance(s) released by the excess unphagocytized bacteria caused the cytotoxic changes to the PAMs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-262
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1980


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