Serum opsonic deficiency produced by Streptococcus pneumoniae and by capsular polysaccharide antigens

G. S. Giebink, J. V. Grebner, Youngki Kim, P. G. Quie

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8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The opsonic requirements for phagocytosis of S. pneumoniae types 6, 7, 18, and 23 were determined in normal and C2 deficient serum, and in normal serum chelated with magnesium ethyleneglycoltetraacetic acid. All four strains were effectively opsonized via the alternative complement pathway, a finding suggestive that the capsular polysaccharides of these strains activated complement via the alternative pathway. Since bacteremic pneumococcal disease is often associated with circulating capsular polysaccharide, it was considered that this cellular component may activate complement in vivo and impair host defenses by producing an opsonic defect for pneumococci. To examine this hypothesis, serum was incubated with suspensions of whole S. pneumoniae types 6, 7, 18, or 23 or with purified capsular polysaccharide from each of these types, and residual complement activity and opsonic capacity were measured. Hemolytic C 3-9 complement activity and opsonic capacity for 3H-thymidine labeled Salmonella typhimurium, a species effectively opsonized via the alternative pathway, were reduced in serum following incubation. Polysaccharide concentrations as low as 1 μ g/ml inhibited serum opsonic capacity for salmonella. Whole pneumococci and pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide also inhibited the opsonic activity of human C2 deficient serum for salmonella, further evidence for activation of complement via the alternative pathway. Pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide markedly inhibited the opsonic capacity of normal serum for the homologous penumococcal type. Thus, amounts of pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide, similar to those found in the serum of patients with pneumococcal disease, bring about decomplementation of serum via activation of the alternative pathway and inhibit penumococcal opsonization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-538
Number of pages12
JournalYale Journal of Biology and Medicine
Volume51
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 1978

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